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Int J Surg Investig. 2000;2(1):85-8.

Telomerase and breast cancer: from diagnosis to therapy.

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Breast Unit, 2nd Floor, West Wing, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE, UK.



Telomeres are believed to be responsible for chromosomal stability during cellular proliferation. They are created by telomerase, an enzyme present in many human neoplasms. Telomerase is considered to be important in breast cancer since reactivation of the enzyme ensures cell stability allowing malignant cells to divide indefinitely.


This article aims to discuss the role of telomerase in breast cancer and explore the future of telomerase research.


We have reported on the literature to date in order to present this current review.


Telomerase is found in significant levels in breast neoplasms and is reliably detected in fine needle aspirations aiding the diagnosis of breast cancer. There is also a correlation between telomerase and disease prognosis, and there is current work assessing if telomerase can be of benefit in monitoring the efficacy of systemic treatment.


The role of telomerase in breast cancer is still being investigated however by understanding the action it has on chromosomal stability, and its detection in tumour cells, there are possibilities to enhance the methods employed to detect and treat breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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