Telomerase and cancer

Hum Mol Genet. 2001 Apr;10(7):677-85. doi: 10.1093/hmg/10.7.677.


Telomerase, a eukaryotic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex, contains both an essential RNA and a protein reverse transcriptase subunit. By reverse transcription, the telomerase RNP maintains telomere length stability in almost all cancer cells. Over the past few years there has been significant progress in identifying the components of the telomerase holoenzyme complex and the proteins that associate with telomeres, in order to elucidate mechanisms of telomere length regulation. This review covers recent advances in the field including the use of telomerase in cancer diagnostics and an overview of anti-telomerase cancer therapeutic approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • RNA*
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Telomerase / chemistry*
  • Telomerase / genetics*
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Telomere / ultrastructure


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • telomerase RNA
  • RNA
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Telomerase