To gain an infinite lifespan, cancer cells need to maintain the ends of their chromosomes, known as telomeres.
They achieve this in various ways. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center systematically investigated more than 2,500 tumor genomes of 36 types of cancer to find out how these mechanisms are manifest in changes in the DNA.
Active lengthening of the telomeres is one of the hallmarks of all cancer cells and hence an important focus in developing targeted treatments. The study is part of the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG).