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Nat Med. 1995 Mar;1(3):249-55.

Correlating telomerase activity levels with human neuroblastoma outcomes.

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University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience 75235-9039, USA.


Telomerase activity was analysed in 100 neuroblastoma cases. Although telomerase activity was not detected in normal adrenal tissues or benign ganglioneuromas, almost all neuroblastomas (94%) did express it, suggesting an important role for telomerase in neuroblastoma development. Neuroblastomas with high telomerase activity had other genetic changes (for example, N-myc amplification) and an unfavourable prognosis, whereas tumours with low telomerase activity were devoid of such genetic alterations and were associated with a favourable prognosis. Three neuroblastomas lacking telomerase activity regressed (stage IVS). Thus telomerase expression may be required as a critical step in the multigenetic process of tumorigenesis, and two different pathways may exist for the development of neuroblastoma.

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