Telomeres and telomerase in normal and cancer stem cells

Jerry W. Shay, Woodring E. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


Differences between normal adult tissue stem cells and cancer stem/initiating cells remain poorly defined. For example, it is controversial if cancer stem cells can become fully quiescent, require a stem cell niche, are better at repairing DNA damage than the bulk of the cancer cells, and if and how they regulate symmetric versus asymmetric cell divisions. This minireview will not only provide our personal views to address some of these outstanding questions, but also present evidence that an understanding of telomere dynamics and telomerase activity in normal and cancer stem cells may provide additional insights into how tumors are initiated, and how they should be monitored and treated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3819-3825
Number of pages7
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Quiescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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