Correlating telomerase activity levels with human neuroblastoma outcomes

Nat Med. 1995 Mar;1(3):249-55. doi: 10.1038/nm0395-249.


Telomerase activity was analysed in 100 neuroblastoma cases. Although telomerase activity was not detected in normal adrenal tissues or benign ganglioneuromas, almost all neuroblastomas (94%) did express it, suggesting an important role for telomerase in neuroblastoma development. Neuroblastomas with high telomerase activity had other genetic changes (for example, N-myc amplification) and an unfavourable prognosis, whereas tumours with low telomerase activity were devoid of such genetic alterations and were associated with a favourable prognosis. Three neuroblastomas lacking telomerase activity regressed (stage IVS). Thus telomerase expression may be required as a critical step in the multigenetic process of tumorigenesis, and two different pathways may exist for the development of neuroblastoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Adrenal Glands / embryology
  • Adrenal Glands / enzymology
  • Base Sequence
  • Child
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Ganglioneuroma / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neuroblastoma / enzymology*
  • Neuroblastoma / ultrastructure
  • Prognosis
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Telomere / ultrastructure*


  • DNA Primers
  • Telomerase