Role of Telomerase in Cervical Lesions as Prognostic Marker: A Comparison Between Immunohistochemistry and Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization

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ObjectivesAmplification of human telomerase is known to be associated with cervical tumorigenesis, although its role in tumor progression of cervical lesions is still unclear. We aimed to evaluate the role of telomerase in predicting the evolution of cervical lesions.MethodsA total of 50 tissue samples taken by biopsy or conization once or repeatedly from 17 patients with cervical lesions over a 14-year follow-up was analyzed using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for hTERC gene alterations and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for hTERT expression. The accuracy of the biomarkers was measured using the area under the curve.ResultsTelomerase gene amplification is highly indicative of cervical lesion evolution and seems to be a more reliable biomarker than the protein expression detected by IHC. In fact, patients with benign lesions or cervical intraepithelial lesions (CINs) showing hTERC amplification relapsed or progressed into CIN 2 and CIN 3 more frequently than those without any gene amplification. FISH and IHC assays had both 86% sensitivity on conized material and 78% and 40% specificity, respectively.ConclusionsWe demonstrated that the most accurate method to evaluate telomerase alterations as prognostic markers in cervical lesions was FISH assay on hTERC gene. The best accuracy was obtained using conized materials.

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