How do telomerase contribute to the pathogenesis of cancer?

How does telomerase contribute to cancer?

Cancer cells often avoid senescence or cell death by maintaining their telomeres despite repeated cell divisions. This is possible because the cancer cells activate an enzyme called telomerase, which adds genetic units onto the telomeres to prevent them from shortening to the point of causing senescence or cell death.

What is telomerase and how is it involved in cancer?

Telomerase activity is closely related to the life stages of the body. The enzyme is active during embryonic development. Cancer cells are characterized by high telomerase activity, which enables cells to divide indefinitely. Telomerase is active in 85–95% of cancers (3,4).

How can an active telomerase lead to cancer?

If a genetic mishap inadvertently turns telomerase production on, it can cause abnormal cells to multiply and form tumors. It is believed that as life expectancy rates continue to grow, the chances of this occur will not only become greater but eventually become inevitable.

Is telomerase good or bad?

Too much telomerase can help confer immortality onto cancer cells and actually increase the likelihood of cancer, whereas too little telomerase can also increase cancer by depleting the healthy regenerative potential of the body.

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Does telomerase activity increase or decrease in cancer cell?

These features provide an advantage that ensures minimum risk for possible telomere shortening in normal cells. The main objective of anti-telomerase therapeutics is to selectively induce apoptosis and cell death in cancer cells while minimizing the effects on normal cells [57].

What is the role of telomerase in aging and cancer?

Telomeres affect how our cells age. Once they lose a certain number of bases and become too short, the cell can no longer divide and be replicated. This inactivity or senescence leads to cell death (apoptosis) and the shortening of telomeres is associated with aging, cancer and an increased likelihood of death.

How do cancer cells survive without telomerase?

At the end of this, the telomere is much longer than it used to be. By using homologous recombination, cancer cells are able to keep their telomeres long without needing telomerase at all!

Do cancer cells lack telomerase?


Most human cancers have short telomeres and express high levels of telomerase, whereas in most normal somatic tissues telomerase is absent (35,36).

What kind of cancer does cadmium cause?

Cadmium is an established human and animal carcinogen. Most evidence is available for elevated risk for lung cancer after occupational exposure; however, associations between cadmium exposure and tumors at other locations including kidney, breast, and prostate may be relevant as well.