We examined human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) protein distribution by immunohistochemistry in cultured cells and tissue sections. Cells with telomerase activity had nuclear positive signals whereas cells without telomerase activity did not. In most normal epithelial tissues, hTERT expression was prominent in the early proliferative descendent progenitor cells. In cancers with high telomerase activity, hTERT expression was detected in almost all neoplastic cells and correlated with telomerase activity levels, whereas cancers with low telomerase activity had fewer hTERT-positive cancer cells. In pediatric neuroblastomas with a favorable outcome, both the percentage of positive cells and the signal intensity of each hTERT-expressing cell decreased. These studies indicate that detection of telomerase at the cellular level is achievable and may have utility in cancer diagnostics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research