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Mol Med Today. 1995 Nov;1(8):378-84.

Aging and cancer: are telomeres and telomerase the connection?

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University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience 75235-9039, USA.


There is substantial evidence for the progressive loss of the telomeric ends of chromosomes during aging, both in cell culture and in vivo. The loss of telomeres may eventually induce antiproliferative signals that result in cellular senescence. A hypothesis gaining prominence is that the activation of telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein enzyme that is important in maintaining telomere length stability, is necessary for the sustained growth of most tumors. The interrelationships between telomere shortening and aging, and how activation of telomerase may be necessary for cells to become immortal and malignant, are reviewed here.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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