Telomerase as a therapeutic target for malignant gliomas

Oncogene. 2002 Jan 21;21(4):656-63. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1205072.


Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein enzyme, is considered as a potential target of cancer therapy because of its preferential expression in tumors. In particular, malignant gliomas are one of the best candidates for telomerase-targeted therapy. It is because malignant gliomas are predominantly telomerase-positive, while normal brain tissues do not express telomerase. In theory, there are two telomerase-associated therapeutic approaches for telomerase-positive tumors. One approach is the anti-telomerase cancer therapy to directly inhibit telomerase activity, resulting in apoptotic cell death or growth arrest. Two major components of the telomerase holoenzyme complex, the RNA template (hTER) and catalytic subunit (reverse transcriptase, hTERT) are well considered as therapeutic targets. The other approach is the telomerase-specific cancer therapy by targeting telomerase-expressing tumor cells as a means to directly kill the cells. Strategies using the transfer of therapeutic gene under the hTERT promoter system as well as immunotherapy directed against telomerase-positive cells are generally included. These telomerase-associated therapies are very promising for the treatment of malignant gliomas.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Forecasting
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Glioma / enzymology
  • Glioma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Oligoribonucleotides, Antisense / therapeutic use
  • RNA / genetics
  • Telomerase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Telomerase / genetics


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Oligoribonucleotides, Antisense
  • telomerase RNA
  • RNA
  • Telomerase