BACKGROUND. Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein that compensates for the erosion of telomeres (chromosomal termini). Telomerase activity is detected in more than 85% of cancerous lesions and is therefore considered a novel marker of cancer. The authors compared cytologic morphology and telomerase activity at the cellular level to obtain further insight into their association. METHODS. The authors used bronchial washing and brushing materials obtained from 18 patients with lung carcinomas (6 squamous cell, 8 adenocarcinoma, 2 large cell, 1 small cell, and 1 metastasis from colon carcinoma) and 20 patients with nonmalignant disease. An in situ telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay was performed, and routine Papanicolaou-stained slides using the same sample were assessed. RESULTS. Nuclear fluorescent signals at the nuclear area, corresponding to telomerase activity, shown by the in situ TRAP assay were only detected in samples containing morphologically malignant cells. No nuclear fluorescence was seen in the keratinizing component of well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma. Nuclear staining was not seen in metaplastic or basal hyperplastic cells. Cytoplasmic fluorescence was only found in macrophages and polymorphonuclear leukocytes. CONCLUSIONS. Nuclear fluorescence corresponding to telomerase activity was not demonstrated in metaplastic or basal hyperplastic cells, thus indicating that detection of telomerase activity is closely associated with the presence of malignant cells, but not premalignant lesions, in lung carcinoma patients. Moreover, in some samples with cancer, cells failed to show telomerase activity, suggesting the limitation of this method for the detection of malignant cells in certain lung carcinoma patients. (C) 2000 American Cancer Society.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 2000 Apr 25|
- Bronchial cytology
- Telomeric repeat amplification protocol in situ
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research