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

Quantification of human telomerase reverse transcriptase mRNA in testicular germ cell tumors by quantitative fluorescence real-time RT-PCR.

Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein enzyme which is endogenously expressed in germ, stem and tumor cells, but absent in benign somatic cells. The two major telomerase components are human telomerase RNA (hTR) and human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT). It has been shown that hTERT is rate-limiting for telomerase activity and that it plays a central role in human carcinogenesis. Here, we investigated the potential of hTERT and hTR gene expression as diagnostic markers in testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT). hTERT mRNA and hTR expression were quantified in 55 testicular germ cell tumors comprising 36 primary and 19 germ cell tumors from retroperitonal sides by fluorescence real-time RT-PCR using the LightCycler technology. Porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD) was used as housekeeping gene and to enable relative quantification. For comparison to TGCTs, 38 benign testicular biopsies from patients with fertility disorders were assayed. hTERT expression was detected in all examined undifferentiated TGCTs and in the benign testicular tissue specimens with germ cell content (N(hTERT) 38-127). In contrast, mature teratomas from primary and post-chemotherapy masses, which are characterized by well-differentiated tissue components showed a nearly complete downregulation of hTERT expression (N(hTERT) 2-4, p<0.001). hTR levels however, were high in all tumors and independently of the presence of germ cells also in the benign tissue control group. hTERT mRNA is expressed in all undifferentiated TGCTs but repressed in mature teratomas. This suggests an inverse correlation between the differentiation status of germ cell tumors and hTERT expression. Thus, detection of hTERT expression in tumors histopathologically classified as mature teratomas enables a molecular-diagnostic confirmation and might aid decision making for treatment of patients presenting with this tumor subtype.[1]


  1. Quantification of human telomerase reverse transcriptase mRNA in testicular germ cell tumors by quantitative fluorescence real-time RT-PCR. Schrader, M., Burger, A.M., Müller, M., Krause, H., Straub, B., Smith, G.L., Newlands, E.S., Miller, K. Oncol. Rep. (2002) [Pubmed]
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