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Prostate. 1998 Sep 1;36(4):264-71.

Telomeric DNA: marker for human prostate cancer development?

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Department of Cell Biology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA.



Telomeres that protect chromosomes at both ends are shortened with each somatic cell division through replication-dependent sequence loss at DNA termini. The chromosomes with shortened telomeres tend to become unstable, leading to cell death. Due largely to reactivation/upregulation of telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein that adds nucleotide sequences onto chromosome ends, cancer cells become immortal and neoplastically transformed.


The purpose of the present study was to study three newly established human prostate cancer cell lines and three prostate-derived fibroblastic cell cultures at different passages for telomeric DNA signal intensity, telomeric restriction fragment length (TRFL), telomerase activity, and spontaneous apoptotic index.


Compared with the three fibroblastic cell cultures, the three new prostate cancer cell lines showed: 1) telomerase activity, 2) stronger telomeric signals, 3) relatively longer TRFLs, and 4) much lower apoptotic indices. On the other hand, three fibroblastic cell cultures showed: 1) no telomerase activity, 2) weaker telomeric signals, 3) shorter TRFLs (fibroblasts derived from surrounding tissue of prostate tumor showed intermediate TRFLs), and 4) comparatively higher apoptotic indices.


Based on these results, we conclude that telomeric DNA signal intensity, TRFL, and telomerase activity can be used to distinguish prostate cancer cells from adjacent fibroblasts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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