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Detection of telomerase reverse transcriptase mRNA in biopsy specimens and bile for diagnosis of biliary tract cancers

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Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), which codes for the catalytic subunit of telomerase, is essential for telomerase activity. Recent studies revealed that levels of hTERT mRNA as well as telomerase activity are high in neoplasm. The purpose of this study was to correlate the expression of hTERT mRNA with telomerase activity in biopsy specimens and bile from biliary tract cancers and to evaluate the potential diagnostic value of hTERT mRNA analysis for biliary malignancy. We analyzed hTERT mRNA and telomerase activity in biopsy specimens and exfoliated bile cells from patients with cholangiocarcinoma, gallbladder carcinoma and bile duct stones. hTERT was detected by either nested reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or real-time PCR. Telomerase activity was examined by a fluorescence-based telomeric repeat amplification protocol assay. Six of 10 malignant biopsy specimens had detectable hTERT and 7 of 10 had telomerase activity. All cases with hTERT expression had telomerase activity. In bile, 7 of 10 malignant patients had detectable hTERT and 3 of 10 had telomerase activity. Importantly, there were no false positive results in tissue specimens or bile examined in 6 non-cancerous cases. In conclusion, the detection of hTERT mRNA in biopsy specimens and bile cells, in combination with routine histologic and cytologic examination may improve the diagnosis of biliary tract cancers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Fourth Department of Internal Medicine, Tokyo Medical University, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan

Publication date: March 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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