Telomerase is perceived as an immortality enzyme that enables passing the Hayflick limit. Its main function is telomere restoration but only in a limited group of cells, including cancer cells. Since it is found in a vast majority of cancer cells, it became a natural target for cancer therapy. However, it has much more functions than just altering the metabolism of telomeres-it also reveals numerous so-called non-canonical functions. Thus, a question arises whether it is always beneficial to turn it off when planning a cancer strategy and considering potential side effects? The purpose of this review is to discuss some of the recent discoveries about telomere-independent functions of telomerase in the context of cancer therapy and potential side effects.
Keywords: Cancer; Telomerase; Telomeres; hTERT.