Epstein-Barr virus and telomerase: From cell immortalization to therapy

Riccardo Dolcetti, Silvia Giunco, Jessica Dal Col, Andrea Celeghin, Katy Mastorci, Anita De Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Overcoming cellular senescence is strictly required for virus-driven tumors, including those associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This critical step is successfully accomplished by EBV through TERT expression and telomerase activation in infected cells. We herein review the complex interplay between EBV and TERT/telomerase in EBV-driven tumorigenesis. Evidence accumulated so far clearly indicates that elucidation of this issue may offer promising opportunities for the design of innovative treatment modalities for EBV-associated malignancies. Indeed, several therapeutic strategies for telomerase inhibition have been developed and are being investigated in clinical trials. In this respect, our recent finding that TERT inhibition sensitizes EBV+ lymphoma cells to antivirals through activation of EBV lytic replication is particularly promising and provides a rationale for the activation of clinical studies aimed at assessing the effects of combination therapies with TERT inhibitors and antivirals for the treatment of EBV-associated malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalInfectious Agents and Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 26 2014



  • Antivirals
  • Cancer
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Lymphoma
  • Lytic replication
  • Telomerase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Oncology
  • Epidemiology
  • Cancer Research

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