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Alternative lengthening of telomeres in neuroblastoma cell lines is associated with a lack of MYCN genomic amplification and with p53 pathway aberrations.

Authors: Ahsan S AS. Farooqi, Rebecca A RA. Dagg, L Mi Rim LM. Choi, Jerry W JW. Shay, C Patrick CP. Reynolds, Loretta M S LM. Lau
Published: 05/03/2014, Journal of neuro-oncology


Alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) is a telomerase-independent telomere length maintenance mechanism that enables the unlimited proliferation of a subset of cancer cells. Some neuroblastoma (NB) tumors appear to maintain telomere length by activating ALT. Of 40 NB cell lines, we identified four potential ALT cell lines (CHLA-90, SK-N-FI, LA-N-6, and COG-N-291) that were telomerase-negative and had long telomeres (a feature of ALT cells). All four cell lines lacked MYCN amplification and were p53 non-functional upon irradiation. Two of these cell lines (CHLA-90 and SK-N-FI) were positive for C-circles (telomeric DNA circles) and ALT-associated promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies, both of which are phenotypic characteristics of ALT. Mutation of ATRX (associated with ALT in tumors) was only found in CHLA-90. Thus, the ALT phenotype in NB may not be limited to tumors with ATRX mutations but is associated with a lack of MYCN amplification and alterations in the p53 pathway.

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