Alteration of Telomerase Activity Associated With Development and Extension of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer

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To assess telomerase activity associated with the development and extension of epithelial ovarian cancer and to investigate the relationship between p53 gene status and telomerase activity.


A total of 53 samples (41 epithelial ovarian cancers, five borderline epithelial tumors, four benign adenomas, and three surface epithelia) were examined for telomerase activity by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) -based telomeric repeat amplification protocol assay. Mutations in the p53 gene were determined by PCR-single strand conformation polymorphism analysis.


Telomerase activity was detected in 33 of 41 epithelial ovarian cancers and in three of five borderline malignancies but was not detectable in either benign tumors or normal surface epithelium. The mean (± standard deviation [SD]) intensity of telomerase activity in cancers was significantly higher than that in borderline malignancies (10.6 ± 8.2 versus 3.6 ± 1.3). The positivity of telomerase activity did not correlate with any clinical findings, but the intensity (±SD) of telomerase activity was significantly higher in tumors with lymph node involvement (12.2 ± 8.3 versus 3.8 ± 1.1). Mutations of the p53 gene were observed in 44% of ovarian cancers; p53 gene status did not relate to telomerase activity. Multivariate analysis showed that the intensity of telomerase activity was not an independent factor for prognosis of patients with ovarian cancer.


Telomerase activity may be associated with development and extension of epithelial ovarian cancer.

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