Telomerase inhibition has been touted as a novel cancer-selective therapeutic goal based on the observation of high telomerase levels in most cancers and the importance of telomere maintenance in long-term cellular growth and survival. Here, the impact of telomere dysfunction on chemotherapeutic responses was assessed in normal and neoplastic cells derived from telomerase RNA null (mTERC-/-) mice. Telomere dysfunction, rather than telomerase per se, was found to be the principal determinant governing chemosensitivity specifically to agents that induced doublestranded DNA breaks (DSB). Enhanced chemosensitivity in telomere dysfunctional cells was linked to therapy-induced fragmentation and multichromosomal fusions, whereas telomerase reconstitution restored genomic integrity and chemoresistance. Loss of p53 function muted the cytotoxic effects of DSB-inducing agents in cells with telomere dysfunction. Together, these results point to the combined use of DSB-inducing agents and telomere maintenance inhibition as an effective anticancer therapeutic approach particularly in cells with intact p53-dependent checkpoint responses.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Mar 13 2001|
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