Influence of telomerase activity on bone and soft tissue tumors

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Telomeres consisting of a repeating nucleotide sequence (TTAGGG)n are shortened in normal somatic cells. Telomerase is an enzyme that elongates the telomere sequence and is detected in most human cancers and usually not in normal somatic cells. Little is known about telomerase activity in bone and soft tissue tumors. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between telomerase activity and clinical factors in bone and soft tissue tumors.


Telomerase activity was measured using the modified telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay in 115 bone and soft tissue tumors obtained through open biopsy or resection.


Telomerase activity was detected in 10% of benign tumors and 44% of malignant tumors (p<0.001). A higher incidence of telomerase activity was detected in high-grade tumors than in low-grade tumors (p=0.002). The cumulative metastasis-free and overall survival in telomerase-positive patients was significantly worse than in telomerase-negative patients (p=0.045 and p=0.048).


Our study suggests that telomerase activity is associated with tumor aggressiveness and may be a useful parameter to predict the prognosis of patients with malignant bone and soft tissue tumors.

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