An appraisal of telomerase activity in benign prostatic hyperplasia

Prostate. 2000 Nov 1;45(3):267-70. doi: 10.1002/1097-0045(20001101)45:3<267::aid-pros10>;2-f.


Background: Prostate cancer is one of the commonest neoplasms in elderly males in developed countries. It is not clear which individuals are at high risk of developing aggressive adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Biomarkers are therefore urgently needed to identify such individuals. It had been suggested both by ourselves and others that prostatic telomerase activity may represent a valuable marker in this respect, particularly if applied to BPH, as tissue is readily available from both transurethral resection of prostates and transrectal ultrasound biopsy.

Methods: Tissue was collected prospectively from 46 patients with BPH who underwent TURP for clinically benign prostatic disease, and who were examined using the telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP assay).

Results: Telomerase activity was not detected in any of 46 BPH samples, using TRAP assay conditions of 0.12, 1.2, and 12.0 microg protein.

Conclusions: The study confirms that telomerase is not detectable in BPH samples. This would suggest that absence of telomerase activity may be a strong indicator of a lack of cancer. However further studies are necessary to confirm this.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology*
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / complications
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / enzymology*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / surgery
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Transurethral Resection of Prostate


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Telomerase