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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Expression of telomerase RNA in oesophageal and oral cancer.

BACKGROUND: Telomerase is detectable in 85% of cancers, but is largely repressed in normal tissues. Human telomerase RNA (hTR) inhibition is a promising anti-cancer strategy, but requires differential expression between malignant and normal tissue. METHOD: Archival paraffin sections from 48 oral squamous cell carcinomas ( SCC) (23 floor of mouth, 25 tongue) and 56 oesophageal carcinomas (41 SCC, 15 adenocarcinomas) were evaluated for hTR expression using a radiolabelled riboprobe. Results were compared with expression in controls and adjacent histologically normal tissue. Statistical analysis was by the chi2 test. RESULTS: hTR was detectable in 76% of oral SCC overall (floor of mouth 65%, tongue 88%, P=0.61), and in 54% of oesophageal cancers ( SCC 51%, adenocarcinoma 60%, P=0.56). Detectable hTR expression was significantly more frequent in oral SCC than oesophageal SCC (P=0.01). hTR expression was only detected in normal tissue at low levels in basal squamous epithelium. There was agreement of hTR expression between 8/9 surgically excised carcinomas and their initial diagnostic biopsies. CONCLUSION: Tumour-specific hTR expression confirms hTR inhibition as a possible therapeutic strategy in some if not all oesophageal and oral cancers. Generally concordant hTR status between biopsy and resection suggest that biopsy may have a role in selecting candidates for telomerase inhibition therapy.[1]


  1. Expression of telomerase RNA in oesophageal and oral cancer. Downey, M.G., Going, J.J., Stuart, R.C., Keith, W.N. J. Oral Pathol. Med. (2001) [Pubmed]
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