Telomere length in different histologic types of ovarian carcinoma with emphasis on clear cell carcinoma

Mod Pathol. 2011 Aug;24(8):1139-45. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2011.67. Epub 2011 Apr 15.


Ovarian carcinoma is composed of a heterogeneous group of tumors with distinct clinico-pathological and molecular features. Alteration of telomerase activity has been reported in ovarian tumors but the pattern of telomere length in their specific histological subtypes has not been reported. In this study, we performed quantitative telomere fluorescence in situ hybridization on a total of 219 ovarian carcinomas including 106 high-grade serous carcinomas, 26 low-grade serous carcinomas, 56 clear cell carcinomas and 31 low-grade endometrioid carcinomas. The mean relative telomere length of carcinoma to stromal cells was calculated as a telomere index. This index was significantly higher in clear cell carcinoma compared with the other histologic types (P=0.007). Overall there was no association between the telomere index and mortality, but when stratified by histologic types, the hazard ratio for death among women with clear cell carcinoma with a telomere index >1 was significantly increased at 4.93 (95% CI 1.64-14.86, P=0.005) when compared with those with a telomere index ≤1. In conclusion, our results provide new evidence that telomere length significantly differs by histologic type in ovarian carcinoma. Specifically, clear cell carcinomas have longer mean relative telomere lengths compared with the other histologic types and longer telomeres in clear cell carcinoma are associated with increased mortality suggesting that aberrations in telomere length may have an important role in the development and progression of this neoplasm.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Telomere / ultrastructure*
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Young Adult