Selective Elimination of Osteosarcoma Cell Lines with Short Telomeres by Ataxia Telangiectasia and Rad3-Related Inhibitors

To avoid replicative senescence or telomere-induced apoptosis, cancers employ telomere maintenance mechanisms (TMMs) involving either the upregulation of telomerase or the acquisition of recombination-based alternative telomere lengthening (ALT). The choice of TMM may differentially influence cancer evolution and be exploitable in targeted therapies. Here, we examine TMMs in a panel of 17 osteosarcoma-derived cell lines, defining three separate groups according to TMM and the length of telomeres maintained. Eight were ALT-positive, including the previously uncharacterized lines, KPD and LM7. While ALT-positive lines all showed excessive telomere length, ALT-negative cell lines fell into two groups according to their telomere length: HOS-MNNG, OHSN, SJSA-1, HAL, 143b, and HOS displayed subnormally short telomere length, while MG-63, MHM, and HuO-3N1 displayed long telomeres. Hence, we further subcategorized ALT-negative TMM into long-telomere (LT) and short-telomere (ST) maintenance groups. Importantly, subnormally short telomeres were significantly associated with hypersensitivity to three different therapeutics targeting the protein kinase ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) (AZD-6738/Ceralasertib, VE-822/Berzoserib, and BAY-1895344) compared to long telomeres maintained via ALT or telomerase. Within 24 h of ATR inhibition, cells with short but not long telomeres displayed chromosome bridges and underwent cell death, indicating a selective dependency on ATR for chromosome stability. Collectively, our work provides a resource to identify links between the mode of telomere maintenance and drug sensitivity in osteosarcoma and indicates that telomere length predicts ATR inhibitor sensitivity in cancer.

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S8666 Elimusertib (BAY-1895344) hydrochloride Elimusertib (BAY-1895344) hydrochloride is a potent, highly selective and orally available ATR inhibitor with an IC50 of 7 nM.

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