Accuracy of telomerase in estimating breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Breast. 2012 Feb;21(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2011.08.136. Epub 2011 Sep 10.


Objective: To determine the accuracy of telomerase activity in predicting a higher risk for breast cancer.

Study design: A quantitative systematic review was performed. Studies that detected telomerase activities in breast tissue were included.

Results: Twenty-five primary studies were analyzed, which included 2395 breast lesions. The proportion of breast cancer was 60.8%. Eighty-two percent (1193/1455) of breast cancer cases and 18% (169/940) of benign lesions cases were positive for telomerase activity. For breast cancer vs benign or normal breast tissue, the pooled likelihood ratio for the presence of telomerase activity was 4.5 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.1-6.5) and the post-test probability was 88% (95% CI, 83-91). For breast cancer vs benign or normal tissue, the area under the summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curve was 0.89 with the Q* point value of 0.82.

Conclusion: Our systematic review showed that telomerase activity was significantly present in breast cancer when compared with normal breast tissue or benign breast lesions.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Telomerase