Detection of alternative lengthening of telomeres by telomere quantitative PCR

  • Lau L
  • Dagg R
  • Henson J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) is one of the two known telomere length maintenance mech- anisms that are essential for the unlimited prolifer- ation potential of cancer cells. Existing methods for detecting ALT in tumors require substantial amounts of tumor material and are labor intensive, making it difficult to study prevalence and prognos- tic significance of ALT in large tumor cohorts. Here, we present a novel strategy utilizing telomere quan- titative PCR to diagnose ALT. The protocol is more rapid than conventional methods and scrutinizes two distinct characteristics of ALT cells concur- rently: long telomeres and the presence of C-circles (partially double-stranded circles of telo- meric C-strand DNA). Requiring only 30ng of genomic DNA, this protocol will facilitate large- scale studies of ALT in tumors and can be readily adopted by clinical laboratories.

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Authors

  • Jeremy HensonUniversity of New South Wales

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  • Loretta M.S. Lau

  • Rebecca A. Dagg

  • Amy Y.M. Au

  • Janice A. Royds

  • Roger R. Reddel

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