Telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) messenger RNA has been detected in 95% of bladder tumors using RT-PCR. In this study, we quantified the expression of hTERT in 35 bladder urothelial cell carcinomas and in 6 normal bladder epithelia using a real-time quantitative PCR assay. hTERT expression was detected in all 35 urothelial cell carcinomas of varying grade and stage, but not in normal tissue samples. An increase in both pathological grade and clinical stage as prognostic parameters correlated with increased hTERT expression. Using different cutoff values for grades and stages, normalized hTERT expression values could discriminate among low, medium, and high grade tumors and between superficial and muscle-invasive tumors. We conclude that standardized real-time measurement of hTERT expression can be used for early tumor detection and may be used for determination of prognosis in urothelial cell carcinomas of the bladder.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.