Detection of telomerase activity in human prostate: a diagnostic marker for prostatic cancer?

Br J Urol. 1997 Aug;80(2):263-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-410x.1997.00248.x.


Objective: To assess the role of telomerase activity as a marker for the development of prostate cancer in men with existing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a known risk factor for prostatic carcinoma.

Materials and methods: Telomerase activity was assayed, using a highly sensitive polymerase-chain reaction-based assay, in nine biopsies from patients with prostatic cancer, 16 from patients clinically diagnosed with BPH and 11 from patients with no evidence of prostatic disease.

Results: Telomerase activity was detectable in eight of the nine prostate cancer biopsies, in none of the normal prostates and in six of the 16 BPH biopsies.

Conclusion: The finding of telomerase activity in six of 16 biopsies from patients with BPH could indicate early prostate cancer and suggests that telomerase activity may be of use as a biomarker in patients diagnosed with BPH and who may subsequently develop prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Biopsy
  • Clinical Enzyme Tests*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Risk Factors
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Telomerase