Telomerase, an enzyme associated with cellular immortality and malignancy, is stringently repressed in most normal somatic cells but is reactivated in malignant tumor cells and immortal cell lines, indicating that activation of telomerase may play an important role in tumorigenesis and immortalization. The pattern of human telomerase RNA (hTR) expression during progression of gastric cancer was investigated by a radioactive in situ hybridization (ISH) assay. Paraffin-embedded sections of 85 archival samples from Korean patients with benign and various malignant stages of gastric carcinomas as well as normal and regenerative tissues were studied. In normal gastric mucosae and regenerative lesions such as chronic peptic ulcer and hyperplastic polyps, only a weak degree of hTR expression was noted, and the expression was limited to basal cells of the gastric glands. Also, a moderate degree of hTR expression was present in the germinal centers of lymphoid follicles present in the submucosa. In tubular adenomas, the degree of hTR expression was also generally weak, but, unlike normal gastric mucosa, the expression was rather diffuse and occasionally focal in distribution. However, moderate to intense and usually diffuse hTR expression was present in all cancerous tissues at different stages. Although some heterogeneity of hTR expression was noted, there was a tendency for intensity of hTR expression to increase gradually as the cancer progressed to a more advanced stage. Our results indicate that upregulation of telomerase expression is associated with gastric cancer development or plays some role in gastric carcinogenesis. Upregulation of hTR expression detected by ISH assay may be a useful marker or tool for the early detection of gastric cancer.
- Gastric cancer
- Human telomerase RNA
- In situ hybridization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine