Background: The close correlation between telomerase activity and human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) expression has made hTERT to be considered as a selective molecular target for human cancer therapy. In this study, the ability of short-interfering RNA (siRNA) to downregulate hTERT expression and its correlation with cell growth and apoptosis in the promyelocytic cell line HL-60 was evaluated. Materials and Methods: hTERT siRNA was designed and transfected to HL-60. hTERT mRNA expression, cell proliferation and apoptotic cells were measured. Results and Conclusion: The results indicated that hTERT siRNA resulted in 97.2 ± 0.6% downregulation of the hTERT mRNA content; inhibition of the cell proliferation rate was about 52.8 ± 2.3% and the apoptotic index of cells was 30.5 ± 1.5%. hTERT plays an essential role in cell proliferation and control of the viability of leukemic cells, thus promising the development of drugs for leukemia.

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