Telomere Attrition in Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasms of the Pancreas Associated With Carcinogenesis and Aging

Pancreas. 2022 Jul 1;51(6):678-683. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000002081.


Objectives: It is challenging to preoperatively distinguish malignant and benign forms of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) of the pancreas. The aims of this study were to investigate whether telomere length is associated with pathological grade of IPMNs and age and to clarify the utility of telomere length as a marker to identify malignant IPMNs.

Methods: Pancreas tissue was obtained from 28 patients after resection. We measured the telomere lengths of tumor cells in IPMNs and normal duct cells by quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization. The association of normalized telomere-centromere ratio (NTCR) to pathological grade of IPMNs and age were determined.

Results: The NTCR showed a gradual decrease with increasing pathological grade of IPMNs. The NTCR in intermediate- and high-grade dysplasia and adenocarcinoma lesions was significantly shorter than in normal pancreatic ducts (P < 0.05). In multivariate analysis, telomere length was most associated with carcinogenesis. When the cutoff value of NTCR was set to 0.74, the sensitivity for detection of high-grade dysplasia and adenocarcinoma was 82.8%, with a specificity of 87.5%.

Conclusions: Telomere shortening occurs with carcinogenesis and aging. A significant reduction of telomere length in IPMNs may be useful for surgical decision making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous* / pathology
  • Aging
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary* / pathology
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatic Intraductal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Telomere / genetics