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Oncogene

TRF2 inhibition promotes anchorage-independent growth of telomerase-positive human fibroblasts.


PMID 16205637

Abstract

Although telomere instability is observed in human tumors and is associated with the development of cancers in mice, it has yet to be established that it can contribute to the malignant transformation of human cells. We show here that in checkpoint-compromised telomerase-positive human fibroblasts an episode of TRF2 inhibition promotes heritable changes that increase the ability to grow in soft agar, but not tumor growth in nude mice. This transforming activity is associated to a burst of telomere instability but is independent of an altered control of telomere length. Moreover, it cannot be recapitulated by an increase in chromosome breaks induced by an exposure to gamma-radiations. Since it can be revealed in the context of telomerase-proficient human cells, telomere dysfunction might contribute to cancer progression even at late stages of the oncogenesis process, after the telomerase reactivation step.