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Mol Cancer Ther. 2009 Jul;8(7):2027-35. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-08-1188. Epub 2009 Jun 9.

The telomerase template antagonist GRN163L alters MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell morphology, inhibits growth, and augments the effects of paclitaxel.

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  • 1Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5251, USA.


Telomeres are repetitive (TTAGGG)(n) DNA sequences found at the end of chromosomes that protect the ends from recombination, end to end fusions, and recognition as damaged DNA. Telomerase activity can be detected in 85% to 90% of human tumors, which stabilizes telomeres to prevent apoptosis or cellular senescence. Previous reports showed the efficacy of the novel telomerase template antagonist, GRN163L, as a potential anticancer agent. The objective of the present study was to elucidate the molecular effects of GRN163L in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and to determine whether GRN163L could be used in mechanism-based combination therapy for breast cancer. We observed that GRN163L reduced MDA-MB-231 growth rates without a significant effect on breast cancer cell viability within the first 14 days in vitro. In addition, GRN163L altered cell morphology, actin filament organization, and focal adhesion formation in MDA-MB-231 cells. Importantly, the cellular response to GRN163L significantly augmented the effects of the microtubule stabilizer paclitaxel in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo compared with paclitaxel alone or a mismatch control oligonucleotide plus paclitaxel. Furthermore, in vitro MDA-MB-231 invasive potential was significantly inhibited with GRN163L and paclitaxel. These data support a rationale for potentially combining GRN163L with paclitaxel for the treatment of breast cancer in the clinical setting.

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