Research Papers:

Telomere erosion in NF1 tumorigenesis

Rhiannon E. Jones, Julia W. Grimstead, Ashni Sedani, Duncan Baird and Meena Upadhyaya _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:40132-40139. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16981

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Rhiannon E. Jones1, Julia W. Grimstead1, Ashni Sedani1, Duncan Baird1 and Meena Upadhyaya1

1 Division of Cancer and Genetics, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN, UK

Correspondence to:

Meena Upadhyaya, email:

Keywords: telomere, NF1, MPNST, genetic instability, cancer

Received: November 02, 2016 Accepted: March 02, 2017 Published: April 09, 2017


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1; MIM# 162200) is a familial cancer syndrome that affects 1 in 3,500 individuals worldwide and is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors (MPNSTs) represent a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in NF1 and currently there is no treatment or definite prognostic biomarkers for these tumors. Telomere shortening has been documented in numerous tumor types. Short dysfunctional telomeres are capable of fusion and it is considered that the ensuing genomic instability may facilitate clonal evolution and the progression to malignancy. To evaluate the potential role of telomere dysfunction in NF1-associated tumors, we undertook a comparative analysis of telomere length in samples derived from 10 cutaneous and 10 diffused plexiform neurofibromas, and 19 MPNSTs. Telomere length was determined using high-resolution Single Telomere Length Analysis (STELA). The mean Xp/Yp telomere length detected in MPNSTs, at 3.282 kb, was significantly shorter than that observed in both plexiform neurofibromas (5.793 kb; [p = 0.0006]) and cutaneous neurofibromas (6.141 kb; [p = 0.0007]). The telomere length distributions of MPNSTs were within the length-ranges in which telomere fusion is detected and that confer a poor prognosis in other tumor types. These data indicate that telomere length may play a role in driving genomic instability and clonal progression in NF1-associated MPNSTs.

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