Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Feb 28;20(8):1940-50. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i8.1940.

Telomeres, telomerase and colorectal cancer.

Author information

1
Roberta Bertorelle, Enrica Rampazzo, Anita De Rossi, Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, Section of Oncology and Immunology, University of Padova, IOV-IRCCS, 35128 Padova, Italy.

Abstract

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer worldwide and, despite improved treatments, is still an important cause of cancer-related deaths. CRC encompasses a complex of diseases arising from a multi-step process of genetic and epigenetic events. Besides heterogeneity in the molecular and biological features of CRC, chromosomal instability is a hallmark of cancer and cancer cells may also circumvent replicative senescence and acquire the ability to sustain unlimited proliferation. Telomere/telomerase interplay is an important mechanism involved in both genomic stability and cellular replicative potential, and its dysfunction plays a key role in the oncogenetic process. The erosion of telomeres, mainly because of cell proliferation, may be accelerated by specific alterations in the genes involved in CRC, such as APC and MSH2. Although there is general agreement that the shortening of telomeres plays a role in the early steps of CRC carcinogenesis by promoting chromosomal instability, the prognostic role of telomere length in CRC is still under debate. The activation of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), the catalytic component of the telomerase complex, allows cancer cells to grow indefinitely by maintaining the length of the telomeres, thus favouring tumour formation/progression. Several studies indicate that TERT increases with disease progression, and most studies suggest that telomerase is a useful prognostic factor. Plasma TERT mRNA may also be a promising marker for the minimally invasive monitoring of disease progression and response to therapy.

KEYWORDS:

Colorectal cancer; Prognostic marker; Telomerase; Telomerase reverse transcriptase; Telomere

PMID:
24616570
PMCID:
PMC3934464
DOI:
10.3748/wjg.v20.i8.1940
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center