In situ human telomerase reverse transcriptase expression pattern in normal and neoplastic ovarian tissues

Atac Baykal, Jennifer A. Thompson, Xiao Chun Xu, William C. Hahn, Michael T. Deavers, Anais Malpica, David M. Gershenson, Elvio G. Silva, Jinsong Lui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Telomerase is a ribonuclear protein reverse transcriptase that maintains telomere length in eukaryotic cells. Activation of telomerase has been implicated in human cellular immortalization and carcinogenesis. Telomerase activity in ovarian neoplasm has been studied using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods and shown to be correlated with malignancy. However, we believe those results must be interpreted with caution because such studies used a heterogeneous mix of cells, including normal cell type known to express telomerase when activated. The present study used in situ hybridization that allows determination of the type of cells expressing telomerase, as well as the intensity of that expression, in ovarian neoplasms. A total of 75 specimens were studied. Epithelial telomerase reverse transcriptase mRNA expression was detected in 28 of 31 epithelial ovarian carcinomas, 1 of 1 malignant granulosa cell tumor, 7 of 9 serous borderline ovarian tumors, 11 of 11 mucinous borderline ovarian tumors, 4 of 5 serous cyst-adenofibromas, 2 of 4 serous cystadenomas, 8 of 8 mucinous cystadenomas, and 0 of 6 normal ovaries except the corpus luteum. Telomerase expression is heterogeneously found in both benign and malignant epithelial tissues. We conclude that human telomerase reverse transcriptase mRNA expression does not seem to be a reliable marker for clinical use in differentiating between benign and malignant tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Early detection marker
  • In situ hybridization
  • Ovarian carcinoma
  • Ovarian tumors of low malignant potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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