DOI: 10.3390/cancers15174214 ISSN:

Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres Is Rare in Canine Histiocytic Sarcoma

Theresa Kreilmeier-Berger, Heike Aupperle-Lellbach, Martin Reifinger, Nicolai Valentin Hörstke, Klaus Holzmann, Miriam Kleiter
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Cancer cells activate telomere maintenance mechanisms (TMMs) to overcome senescence and thus are targets for TMM-specific therapies. Telomerase-independent alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) is frequently utilized as a TMM in human sarcoma subtypes. Histiocytic sarcoma (HS) is a rare but aggressive tumor of hematopoietic origin with unknown ALT incidence in humans. ALT has been identified in canine HS, a tumor type comparable to human HS that occurs with high rates in certain canine breeds such as Bernese mountain dogs (BMDs). This retrospective study characterized the frequency of ALT in BMD and non-BMD patients diagnosed with HS as surrogates for humans. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples from 63 dogs at two centers, including 47 BMDs, were evaluated for their ALT activity and relative telomere content (TC) using a radiolabel C-circle assay (CCA). Known ALT-positive samples served as controls. CCA-positive cases were validated via FISH. Two BMD samples showed ALT activity of 1–14% compared to controls. All other samples were ALT-negative. The TC did not correlate with the CCA results. ALT positivity was validated by the appearance of ultrabright telomere foci. Low ALT activity was present in 4% of BMDs with HS and therefore does not appear to be a common target for therapeutic approaches but can have diagnostic value.

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