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Ann Hematol. 2012 Jul;91(7):1115-20. doi: 10.1007/s00277-012-1454-x. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Telomere elongation and clinical response to androgen treatment in a patient with aplastic anemia and a heterozygous hTERT gene mutation.

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Department of Oncology, Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation, University Hospital Aachen, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074, Aachen, Germany.


Telomere length (TL) both reflects and limits the replicative life span of normal somatic cells. As a consequence, critically shortened telomeres are associated with a variety of disease states. Telomere attrition can be counteracted by a nucleoprotein complex containing telomerase. Mutations in subunits of telomerase, telomerase-binding proteins as well as in members of the shelterin complex have been described both in inherited and acquired bone marrow failure syndromes. Here, we report on a patient with acquired aplastic anemia and a nonsynonymous variation of codon 1062 of the hTERT gene (p.Ala1062Thr) whose substantial and maintained hematologic response to long-term androgen treatment (including complete transfusion independence) was paralleled by a significant and continued increase in TL in multilineage peripheral blood cells. To our knowledge, this represents the first case of sustained telomere elongation in hematopoietic stem cells induced by a pharmacological approach in vivo (141 words).

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