Home HOME Neoplasma 2004 Neoplasma Vol.51, p.90-96, 2004

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Founded: 1954
ISSN 0028-2685
ISSN 1338-4317 (online)

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Neoplasma Vol.51, p.90-96, 2004

Title: Telomerase as a diagnostic and predictive marker in colorectal carcinoma

Abstract: In a search for molecular markers providing both informative diagnostics of malignant disease, and rational stratification of a therapeutic strategy to achieve optimal response in a given patient, we examined the possibility of using telomerase for this purpose in colorectal cancer. Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein enzyme complex catalysing synthesis of chromosome ends (telomeres), has been known as an almost universal tumor marker but its predictive value has been found in only a limited number of malignant tumor types. Telomerase activity and expression of its catalytic subunit hTERT was determined in 82 surgical specimens from 41 patients (a sample of tumor tissue and of adjacent morphologically normal tissue was obtained from each patient). Telomerase activity was present in tumor samples from 34 (83%) patients, reaching an average value of 47.6 telomerase units (T.U.), while adjacent tissue specimens were either negative (in 25 (61%) patients), or slightly positive (in 16 (39%) patients) showing 1.5 T.U. on average. In tumor samples from patients without lymphatic node metastases (pN0), an average of 37.1 T.U was found. In contrast, in tumor samples from patients with lymphatic node involvement (pN1 or pN2) the average activity was significantly higher (60.2 T.U., p<0.05). In patients with distant metastases a tendency towards higher telomerase activity, although lacking statistical significance, could be observed. Among patients that obtained chemotherapy with 5-fluoruracil, those with low telomerase activity showed a tendency to chemosensitivity. Expression of hTERT was detected not only in samples showing telomerase activity, but also in a considerable portion of telomerase-negative samples either from the tumor or the adjacent normal tissue. We demonstrate that some of these apparent discrepancies may be attributed to differential splicing of hTERT mRNA. We conclude that TRAP assay for telomerase activity is more informative than the common testing for hTERT expression. Telomerase activity is useful both as a diagnostic as well as a predictive factor in colorectal cancer.

Keywords: colorectal carcinoma, telomerase, diagnostic and predictive marker
Year: 2004, Volume: 51, Issue: Page From: 90, Page To: 96

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