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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(5):2063-8.

Significance of human telomerase RNA gene amplification detection for cervical cancer screening.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weifang People's Hospital, Weifang, China E-mail :



Liquid-based cytology is the most often used method for cervical cancer screening, but it is relatively insensitive and frequently gives equivocal results. Used as a complementary procedure, the high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA test is highly sensitive but not very specific. The human telomerase RNA gene (TERC) is the most often amplified oncogene that is observed in cervical precancerous lesions. We assessed genomic amplification of TERC in liquid-based cytological specimens to explore the optimal strategy of using this for cervical cancer screening.


Six hundred and seventy-one residual cytological specimens were obtained from outpatients aged 25 to 64 years. The specimens were evaluated by the Digene Hybrid Capture 2 (HC2) HPV DNA test and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with a chromosome probe to TERC (3q26). Colposcopic examination and histological evaluation were performed where indicated.


The TERC positive rate was higher in the CIN2+ (CIN2, CIN3 and SCC) group than in the normal and CIN 1 groups (90.0% vs. 10.4%, p<0.01). In comparison with the HC2 HPV DNA test, the TERC amplification test had lower sensitivity but higher specificity (90.0% vs. 100.0%, 89.6% vs. 44.0%, respectively). TERC amplification test used in conjunction with the HC2 HPV DNA test showed a combination of 90.0% sensitivity and 92.2% specificity.


The TERC amplification test can be used to diagnose cervical precancerous lesions. TERC and HPV DNA co-testing shows an optimal combination of sensitivity and specificity for cervical cancer screening.

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