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Am J Clin Pathol. 2000 Nov;114(5):726-34.

Localization of telomerase hTERT protein and hTR in benign mucosa, dysplasia, and squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262, USA.


Telomerase has been detected by telomerase repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay in cervical dysplasia and squamous cell carcinoma but not in most normal cervical tissues. In the present study, the cellular localization of the protein catalytic subunit of telomerase (hTERT) and the RNA component (hTR) were investigated by a sensitive immunohistochemical technique and by in situ hybridization, respectively. hTERT protein was detected in all diagnostic categories of cervical specimens. hTERT was localized predominantly to the lower suprabasal levels of normal squamous mucosa but was detected throughout virtually all levels of the lesional epithelium in low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSILs), high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSILs), and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Telomerase expression correlated with hTERT detection in SCC and HSIL but was not detected by TRAP assay in most samples of normal mucosa or LSIL. The distribution of hTR correlated with the localization of hTERT in HSIL and SCC but was restricted to the basal and suprabasal cell layers in normal mucosa and LSIL.

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