Cancer Res Treat.  2002 Feb;34(1):46-51.

Telomerase Activity and Expression of hTR and TERT in Human Soft Tissue Sarcomas

  • 1Department of Clinical Pathology, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


PURPOSE: Sarcomas have rarely been analyzed for telomerase, which is an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase to maintain telomeres and prevent telomere shortening. This study was undertaken to determine telomerase activity and the expression of the telomerase subunits human telomerase RNA (hTR) and telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) in soft tissue sarcomas.
Twenty three sarcomas were analyzed for the telomerase activity by a radioactive PCR-based TRAP assay. All of the samples were further investigated for the expression of hTR by in situ hybridization and for TERT and p53 by immunohistochemistry.
Telomerase activity was detected in four (17%) samples. Expression of hTR was demonstrated in 11 (48%) cases, whereas TERT was expressed in 20 (87%).Of the four telomerase-positive tumors, three were positive for both hTR and TERT, and one was positive only for TERT. p53 overexpression was observed in nine (39%) tumors. The frequency of p53 expression increased as the tumor grade advanced (p= .064).
These data indicate that the reactivation of telomerase is an uncommon event in human soft tissue sarcomas. The high frequency of the expression of hTR and TERT in these tumors suggests that telomerase activity may be regulated at the transcriptional level and an additional event leading to telomerase activation exist.


Telomerase activity; Telomerase RNA; Telomerase reverse transcriptase; Soft tissue sarcoma
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