Amplification of the Human Telomerase Gene in Liquid-based Preparations is Associated With Cervical Dysplasia and Carcinoma

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The aim of this study was to analyze the amplification of the human telomerase gene (TERC) in cervical specimens by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and FISH findings were compared with cytologic and histologic diagnoses. Slides prepared from 123 liquid-based preparations from cervical specimens with cytologic diagnoses of negative for squamous intraepithelial lesion or malignancy (n=20), atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (n=22), low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (n=55), high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (n=21), or invasive cervical carcinomas (n=5) were analyzed for the amplification of TERC using a 2-color FISH probe. The results of the cytologic analysis and those of concurrent or subsequent biopsies were compared with the FISH findings. Results showed that amplification of TERC was significantly associated with both cytologic and histologic diagnoses (P<0.05). Patients with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion or squamous cell carcinoma cytology diagnoses had significantly higher percentages of cells with the amplification of TERC than did patients with low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion, ASC-US, and negative for squamous intraepithelial lesion or malignancy (P<0.005). FISH can be performed on cervical liquid-based preparations to detect the amplification of TERC. This test may be an adjunct to cytology screening, early detection of cervix neoplasm, and may determine the progressive potential of individual lesions, especially in high-risk patients.

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