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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001 Aug;16(8):876-82.

Alterations of telomerase activity and terminal restriction fragment in gastric cancer and its premalignant lesions.

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Department of Gastroenterology, South-west Hospital, The Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, People's Republic of China.



In order to explore the role of alterations of telomerase activity and terminal restriction fragment (TRF) length in the development and progression of gastric cancer.


Telomerase activity was detected in 176 specimens of gastric mucosa obtained through an operation or endoscopical biopsy by using the telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay. Meanwhile, the mean length of TRF was measured with the use of a Southern blot in part of those samples.


Telomerase activity was detected in 14 of 57 (24.6%) chronic atrophy gastritis patients, six of 18 (33.3%) intestinal metaplasia patients, three of eight (37.5%) dysplasia patients and 60 of 65 (92.3%) gastric cancer patients, respectively. Normal gastric mucosa revealed no telomerase activity. No association was found between telomerase activity and any clinicopathological parameters. The mean TRF length was decreased gradually with age in normal mucosa and in gastric cancer tissue. Regression analysis demonstrated that the reduction rate in these tissues was 41 +/- 12 base pairs/year. Among 35 gastric cancers, TRF length was shown to be shorter in 20 cases (57.1%), similar in 12 cases (34.3%) and elongated in three cases (7.6%), compared to the corresponding adjacent tissues. The mean TRF length tended to decrease as the mucosa underwent chronic atrophy gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia and into gastric cancer. The mean TRF length in gastric cancer was not statistically correlated with clinicopathological parameters and telomerase activity.


Our results suggest that telomerase is expressed during the early stage of gastric carcinogenesis, and that the clinical significance of TRF length appears to be limited in gastric cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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