Telomere dynamics in childhood leukemia and solid tumors: A follow-up study

S. Franco, M. F. Ozkaynak, C. Sandoval, O. Tugal, S. Jayabose, M. Engelhardt, M. A.S. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Telomeres of hematopoietic cells shorten with age, possibly contributing to the aging-associated hematopoietic pathology (immunosenescence, malignant transformation). Accelerated telomere shortening is seen with replicative stress, such as during administration of serial chemotherapy cycles for the treatment of childhood cancer. To define the long-term consequences of pediatric cancer treatment on hematopoietic cell telomere length, we undertook a prospective 4-year follow-up study of a 61-patient cohort of pediatric malignancies in a community-based setting. We found that mononuclear cells (MNC) and granulocytes of children with standard-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) suffered minimal telomere shortening throughout therapy (less than 1 kbp; average follow-up, 20 months), while those of children with solid tumors showed greater and more heterogenous telomere attrition (0.5-2.8 kbp, average follow-up, 9 months). In addition, we evaluated the role of telomerase, the enzyme commonly up-regulated in pediatric leukemic and solid tumor cells for telomere length maintenance, as a disease marker. Serial determinations of telomerase in MNC were useful to confirm disease remission in leukemia, but play no role in the follow-up of children with solid tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-410
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Long-term follow-up
  • Pediatric solid tumors
  • Telomerase
  • Telomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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