Emerging immunotherapeutic strategies targeting telomerases in genitourinary tumors

Francesco Carrozza, Matteo Santoni, Francesco Piva, Liang Cheng, Antonio Lopez-Beltran, Marina Scarpelli, Rodolfo Montironi, Nicola Battelli, Stefano Tamberi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations


Telomerase activity and telomere length are essential for the pathogenesis of several human diseases, including genitourinary tumors. Telomerase constitutes a complex system that includes human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), human telomerase RNA component (hTR) and telomerase associated protein 1 (TEP1), which are overexpressed in tumor cells compared to normal cells and are involved in the carcinogenesis and progression of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), bladder (BC) and prostate cancer (PCa). In addition, telomerase degraded peptide fragments expressed on the surface of tumor cells lead to their recognition by immune cells. On this scenario, in vitro and in vivo studies have shown effective anti-tumor activity of hTERT-tailored strategies in genitourinary tumors, including active immunotherapy with hTERT-peptide vaccines and passive immunotherapy with hTERT-transduced T cell infusion. This review emphasizes the role of telomerase in the carcinogenesis and progression of genitourinary tumors, thus underlying the potential of emerging telomerase-tailored immunotherapies in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018



  • Bladder cancer
  • Immunotherapy
  • Prostate cancer
  • Renal cancer
  • Telomerases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology

Cite this

Carrozza, F., Santoni, M., Piva, F., Cheng, L., Lopez-Beltran, A., Scarpelli, M., Montironi, R., Battelli, N., & Tamberi, S. (2018). Emerging immunotherapeutic strategies targeting telomerases in genitourinary tumors. Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, 131, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2018.07.008