, Volume 135, Issue 9, pp 1169-1175
Date: 12 Feb 2009

Predictive value of telomerase reverse transcriptase expression in patients with high risk superficial bladder cancer treated with adjuvant BCG immunotherapy

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Abstract

Purpose

We conducted a prospective study to determine whether expression of telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) is associated with recurrence-free-survival (RFS) or development of invasive disease in patients with high risk superficial bladder cancer (SBC) that received adjuvant BCG immunotherapy.

Methods

Thirty patients with high-grade T1 tumors were evaluated. Pre-BCG TURBT and post-BCG specimens were analyzed for hTERT nucleolar expression by immunohistochemistry.

Results

Post-BCG hTERT expression was statistically significantly lower than pre-BCG hTERT expression. Pre-BCG hTERT nucleolar staining in more than 75% of cells was associated with worse RFS (9 months vs. not yet reached, P = 0.05), while post-BCG hTERT nucleolar staining in more than 50% of the cells was associated with worse RFS (6 months vs. not yet reached, P = 0.001) and development of invasive disease. In multivariate analysis, post-BCG hTERT expression was independently associated with RFS and development of invasive disease.

Conclusions

Immunohistochemical evaluation of hTERT may help define a subset of high risk SBC patients that will eventually fail BCG and may therefore benefit from early salvage cystectomy.
I. Zachos and P. A. Konstantinopoulos contributed equally to this work.