Telomere length has been proposed as a biomarker of biological age and a risk factor for age-related diseases and cancer. Substantial progress has been made in recent decades in understanding the complex molecular relationships in this research field. However, the majority of telomere studies have been conducted in adults. The data on telomere dynamics in pediatric cancers is limited, and interpretation can be challenging, especially in cases where results are contrasting to those in adult entities. This review describes recent advances in the molecular characterization of structure and function of telomeres, regulation of telomerase activity in cancer pathogenesis in general, and highlights the key advances that have expanded our views on telomere biology in pediatric cancer, with special emphasis on the central role of telomere maintenance in neuroblastoma. Furthermore, open questions in the field of telomere maintenance research are discussed in the context of recently published literature.
Keywords: neuroblastoma; pediatric cancer; telomere maintenance.