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Anticancer Res. 2001 Mar-Apr;21(2A):1057-63.

Correlation of telomerase activity, clinical prognosis and therapy in oral carcinogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Erlangen, Gl├╝ckstrasse 11, 90541 Erlangen, Germany.


Telomerase activity is associated with most malignant tumors. To evaluate the role of telomerase reactivation as a diagnostic and prognostic marker in oral carcinogenesis activity was investigated in mortal and immortal cell lines in eight oral leukoplakias (OL) and 46 oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). Activity was also investigated in 13 histopathologically unaffected mucosas from distant sites or tumor-free margins of the same patients using a modified, highly sensitive, non-radioactive telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP). This was correlated with histopathological stages and the clinical course of the disease. 50% of OL and 46% of OSCC showed activity. One patient with positive, high dysplastic OL developed an OSCC 11 month later. One of three specimens of adjacent tissue presented activity and a recurrence occurred after 6 months. Out of 10 tissues of distal normal mucosa, 2 demonstrated activity which could also be proved in the corresponding tumor. Detection of telomerase reactivation may be a novel method for early detection of immortalised cell clones and malignant cells in histopathologically normal oral squamous epithelium.

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