Clinical Significance of Telomerase Activity in Peritoneal Disseminated Cells: Gastrointestinal Cancers
Early detection and accurate staging of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are difficult. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether telomerase activity (TA) in exfoliated/disseminated epithelial cells could be used as a reliable marker for GI cancers. TA was evaluated with the real-time RTQ-TRAP in immunomagnetically sorted peritoneal epithelial cells from 60 patients undergoing surgical treatment. Thirty-two patients were clinically diagnosed with a variety of GI cancers: 1 had premalignant disease, 2 had history of GI cancers, and 25 patients were clinically negative for cancer. Here we report that all types and all cases of gastrointestinal cancers were telomerase positive, thereby demonstrating 100% sensitivity for cancer. Eighteen of 25 nonmalignant cases had undetectable levels of TA, 2 had low, and 5 of 25 expressed high TA levels. Because normal epithelial cells usually have low TA and a lesser tendency to exfoliate compared with cancer cells, it is of great importance to have close follow-up for these patients to exclude possible malignant disease. We conclude that RTQ-TRAP assessment of TA in immunomagnetically sorted peritoneal epithelial cells has 100% sensitivity and 100% negative predictive value for GI cancers, and therefore, can be considered as a valuable tool and useful addition to current standard diagnostic methods. Clinical significance of unusually high telomerase activity in some clinically negative for cancer cases requires further study.
We thank SBU Sensor CAT for support. We thank Barbara Smith, NP (SBU Medical Center) for irreplaceable help during the performance of this project. We also thank Dr. Henry Thode for his assistance with statistical analysis.
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