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Acta Cytol. 2004 Nov-Dec;48(6):818-24.

Telomerase activity in thyroid fine needle aspirates.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Autonomous University, Barcelona, Spain.



To study the utility of telomerase activity (TA) detection in thyroid fine needle aspirates (FNAs).


One hundred two thyroid nodules were studied: 70 in FNA samples and 32 in frozen tumors. From among FNA samples, there were 57 nodules of the goiter, 1 adenoma, 7 papillary carcinomas, 1 medullary carcinoma and 1 lymphoma. Three cases of thyroiditis were excluded. The 32 frozen tissue tumors consisted of 5 follicular adenomas, 4 follicular carcinomas and 23 papillary carcinomas. TA was analyzed by Telomerase PCR ELISA (Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.).


TA was negative in the 57 nonneoplastic nodules and 6 follicular adenomas and positive in 3 of 4 follicular carcinomas and 10 of 30 papillary carcinomas. TA sensitivity was 41.4% and specificity 100%. Sensitivity for malignancy was higher (85.7%) in FNAs than in TA.


TA seems highly specific for neoplasms of the thyroid. Further studies are needed to confirm whether TA detection could contribute to identifying neoplasms when FNAs are inconclusive for malignancy and in cases of scanty material.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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