Telomerase activity in human benign prostate tissue and prostatic adenocarcinomas

Diagn Mol Pathol. 1997 Aug;6(4):192-8. doi: 10.1097/00019606-199708000-00003.


Telomerase adds a hexanucleotide telomeric sequence to the chromosomal ends during replication and is postulated to play a role in cellular senescence and immortalization. Thirty-four human prostate tissues (18 malignant; 16 benign) were analyzed for telomerase activity by a sensitive nonradioactive polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method using the TRAP-eze telomerase detection kit (Oncor, Inc., Gaithersburg, MD). Telomerase activity in the homogenized tissue extracts was correlated with tumor grade, pathologic stage, and DNA ploidy. Specimens that exhibited the 36 bp internal control band and a ladder of products with 6-base increments starting with 50 nucleotides were considered positive. Fourteen (78%) of 18 prostatic adenocarcinomas (PACs) and only 2 (13%) of 16 benign prostate tissues exhibited telomerase activity. Our results indicate that, in contrast to most benign prostate tissues, telomerase activity can be detected in the majority of PACs and appears to be independent of tumor grade, stage, or DNA ploidy. Telomerase expression is occasionally detected in benign prostatic tissues bordering PACs and may result from either the presence of undetected tumor foci in these stored specimens or the proliferative response of the benign elements to adjacent cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / enzymology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prostate / enzymology
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Telomerase / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Telomerase