Telomeric DNA: marker for human prostate cancer development?

Prostate. 1998 Sep 1;36(4):264-71. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0045(19980901)36:4<264::aid-pros8>;2-f.


Background: Telomeres that protect chromosomes at both ends are shortened with each somatic cell division through replication-dependent sequence loss at DNA termini. The chromosomes with shortened telomeres tend to become unstable, leading to cell death. Due largely to reactivation/upregulation of telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein that adds nucleotide sequences onto chromosome ends, cancer cells become immortal and neoplastically transformed.

Methods: The purpose of the present study was to study three newly established human prostate cancer cell lines and three prostate-derived fibroblastic cell cultures at different passages for telomeric DNA signal intensity, telomeric restriction fragment length (TRFL), telomerase activity, and spontaneous apoptotic index.

Results: Compared with the three fibroblastic cell cultures, the three new prostate cancer cell lines showed: 1) telomerase activity, 2) stronger telomeric signals, 3) relatively longer TRFLs, and 4) much lower apoptotic indices. On the other hand, three fibroblastic cell cultures showed: 1) no telomerase activity, 2) weaker telomeric signals, 3) shorter TRFLs (fibroblasts derived from surrounding tissue of prostate tumor showed intermediate TRFLs), and 4) comparatively higher apoptotic indices.

Conclusions: Based on these results, we conclude that telomeric DNA signal intensity, TRFL, and telomerase activity can be used to distinguish prostate cancer cells from adjacent fibroblasts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Base Sequence
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Prostate / cytology
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Telomere / genetics
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Telomerase
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes