The majority of human malignancies use telomerase to maintain telomere homeostasis. Antitelomerase therapy is therefore a promising approach for a cancer-specific therapy. The alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway (ALT) is a recombination-based, telomerase-independent mechanism of telomere length control. It is widely believed that ALT could be engaged when cancer cells escape from telomerase inhibition. However, no reports exist that would support this concept of therapy resistance. We inhibited telomerase in a human cancer cell line with a mismatch repair defect and observed a telomerase-independent, ALT-like telomere elongation. This is the first report of inducing a telomerase-independent telomere elongation in human cancer cells when telomerase is inhibited, thus describing a novel mechanism of resistance to antitelomerase therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research