Affiliation: UMR3244; Institut Curie, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 Paris, France.
Telomeres are essential for cell proliferation and tumor cell immortalization requires the presence of a telomere maintenance mechanism. Thus, interfering with this mechanism constitutes a potential means to impede cell proliferation and tumor progression. Many cancer cells rely on telomerase activity to ensure indefinite proliferation capacity and developing therapeutic approaches that target telomerase has attracted much attention in the last couple of decades. Nevertheless, a non-negligible proportion of tumors utilize telomerase- independent, alternative mechanisms to lengthen telomeres (ALT). Here we briefly discuss both our current understanding of ALT mechanisms and the potential to develop a therapeutic approach targeting ALT.