Telomerase activity in prostate cancer, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and benign prostatic epithelium

Weiben Zhang, Linda R. Kapusta, Joyce M. Slingerland, Laurence H. Klotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein that synthesizes telomeric DNA on chromosomal ends. Telomerase activation has been seen in many immortal cell lines and cancers. Telomerase activity was analyzed in prostate carcinoma; in coexistent prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), atrophy and normal tissue; and in benign prostate glands. Telomerase activity was detected in 80 of 87 (92%) prostate cancers. Forty- one matched samples (from a total of 32 cases) were available for comparative analysis. The presence of telomerase activity in adjacent PIN, BPH, and normal tissue was correlated with telomerase activity in the malignant epithelium. In these adjacent tissues, telomerase activity was found in 11 of 15 (73%) PINs, 13 of 26 (50%) BPHs, and 1 of 6 (16%) atrophy and 4 of 11 (36%) normal tissues. In contrast to the BPH tissue from cancer-bearing glands, all 16 BPH specimens from patients only diagnosed with BPH were telomerase activity negative. In cancer samples, there was no correlation between telomerase activity and Gleason grade or preoperation prostate- specific antigen level. Our data indicate that telomerase activity is present in most prostate cancers. The high rate of telomerase activity in the benign- appearing areas of these glands may be attributed either to the presence of occult cancer cells or to early molecular alterations of cancer that were histologically inapparent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-621
Number of pages3
JournalCancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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