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The Telomere: Does Length Impact Cancer Related Genomic Alterations?

By Samantha Bussell / Feb 10, 2017

Telomeres are regions of highly repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome that assists in cellular duplication and rejuvenation. This physiological function has been historically associated with biological aging as the length of the telomere shortens after division and subsequently alters the effectiveness of DNA replication. However, a team of researchers at the Jackson Laboratory at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (UTMD) have found that the length is also impactful in genetic alterations in 31 different types of metastatic tumors.

This study consisted of examining over 18,000 samples that included tumor and non-neoplastic specimens. While overall telomeres were shorter in tumors specimens as compared to normal specimens, 73% of the tumor specimens did express telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT).  Importantly, UTMD Anderson’s examination demonstrated multiple mechanisms of TERT activation, including TERT point mutations (TP53 and RB1), rearrangements, DNA amplifications, and transcript fusions and demonstrated that telomerase activity correlated with telomere length.

BioIVT offers a variety of FFPE and frozen tumor specimens of which we test for mutations relevant to cancer research. These specimens are available for immediate shipment and include tumors with both mutated and wild-type status. Furthermore, donor-matched serums and plasmas are also available. Contact us to see how we can help.


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