BACKGROUND: Telomerase is a nucleoprotein complex that caps the physical termini of all eukaryotic chromosomes. It is suggested that telomerase play important roles in unlimited cell division acquisition of the malignant phenotype. We studied the relation of telomerase activity in thymoma and thymic carcinoma to the clinicopathological features of these lesions. METHODS: Tissue specimens were surgically resected from patients with thymoma and thymic carcinoma. Telomerase activity was evaluated according to a modified telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay. RESULTS: Telomerase activity was detected in all thymic epithelial tumors. The activity (mean +/- SD: unit/microgram.protein) in thymoma (n = 17) was significantly higher than that in thymic carcinoma (n = 7) [431.8 +/- 400.1 vs. 68.8 +/- 39.8: p < 0.01]. Telomerase activities in thymoma and thymic carcinoma were significantly higher than that in primary lung adenocarcinoma (33.5 +/- 39.2: n = 47), studied as control (p < 0.01). In patients with thymoma, telomerase activity did not correlate with tumor stage according to Masaoka classification (p = 0.776). In patients with thymic carcinoma, however, telomerase activity positively correlated with tumor stage (p = 0.02). In thymoma, telomerase activity positively correlated with the ratio of induced lymphocytes according to Rosai's classification (p = 0.045). CONCLUSION: In thymoma, telomerase activity reflects the presence of immature T-cell lymphocytes in tumor tissue rather than tumor stage or malignant phenotype. In thymic carcinoma, telomerase activity derived directly from cancer cells may relate to tumor stage.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Kyobu geka. The Japanese journal of thoracic surgery|
|Publication status||Published - 2002 Oct|
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