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The Korean Journal of Pathology 2007;41(2): 95-102.
The Expression of Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Protein is an Independent Prognostic Marker in Early Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinomas.
Ji Han Jung, Chan Kwon Jung, Ahwon Lee, Gyeongsin Park, Jinyoung Yoo, Kyo Young Lee
BACKGROUND: The catalytic subunit of telomerase, hTERT (telomerase reverse transcriptase), is one of the most important components of telomerase, and performs a pivotal role in the mechanism underlying the regulation of telomerase activity in cellular immortalization and carcinogenesis. The principal objective of this study was to investigate hTERT expression in patients with non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs), and to evaluate its clinical significance and association with the expression of p16 and p53. METHODS: Using tissue microarray, the protein expression profiles of hTERT, p16 and p53 were investigated via immunohistochemistry in 167 samples of NSCLCs. RESULTS: Expression was observed in 54.5% (91/167) of the tumors, which were predominantly squamous cell carcinomas. Patients evidencing hTERT expression in their tumors exhibited significantly poorer survival rates than did patients without hTERT expression in early-stage NSCLCs (p=0.0125). According to the results of our Cox regression analysis, hTERT expression proved to be an independent prognostic factor (p=0.006), particularly for squamous cell carcinomas (p=0.019). hTERT expression was not correlated with p16 expression, but was rather associated with the expression of p53 (p=0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that hTERT may perform a function in the progression of NSCLC, and that its detection may be useful in predicting the prognosis of NSCLC patients in the early stages of the disease, as well as in the development of a targeted therapy in these tumors.
Key Words: Telomerase reverse transcriptase; Carcinoma, Non-small cell lung; Prognosis