Oct 29, 2013

Telomeres and telomere dynamics: relevance to cancers of the GI tract

Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Nivedita BasuLisa A Boardman


Aberrations in telomere length and telomere maintenance contribute to cancer development. In this article, we review the basic principles of telomere length in normal and tumor tissue and the presence of the two main telomere maintenance pathways as they pertain to gastrointestinal tract cancer. Peripheral blood telomeres are shorter in patients with many types of gastrointestinal tract cancers. Telomere length in tumor DNA also appears to shorten early in cancer development. Tumor telomere shortening is often accompanied by telomerase activation to protect genetically damaged DNA from normal cell senescence or apoptosis, allowing immortalized but damaged DNA to persist. Alternative lengthening of telomeres is another mechanism used by cancer to maintain telomere length in cancer cells. Telomerase and alternative lengthening of telomeres activators and inhibitors may become important chemopreventive or chemotherapeutic agents as our understanding of telomere biology, specific telomere-related phenotypes and its relationship to carcinogenesis increases.

  • References146
  • Citations11


  • References146
  • Citations11


Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
Antineoplastic Agents
Telomere Lengthening
Peripheral Blood
Tumor Tissue Sample
Telomere Shortening
Telomerase Catalytic Subunit
Tumor Markers
Gastrointestinal Neoplasms

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