Expression of telomerase-associated protein 1 and telomerase reverse transcriptase in hepatocellular carcinoma.Br J Cancer. 2000 Feb; 82(4):833-7.BJ
To know whether two protein components of human telomerase (human telomerase-associated protein 1 (hTEP1) and human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) are useful markers for telomerase activation in human liver diseases, we examined mRNA levels of these and telomerase activity in human liver samples. Twenty-three human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and corresponding adjacent livers were analysed for hTEP1 and hTERT expression by semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and for telomerase activity by a telomeric repeat amplification protocol assay. Thirteen liver samples (ten HCCs and three dysplastic nodules) that were biopsied with 21-gauge needles were analysed for hTERT expression. hTEP1 was expressed in all samples examined. No correlation between hTEP1 expression and telomerase activity was observed. hTERT expression significantly correlated with telomerase activity (P< 0.001). The positivity of hTERT for HCC and corresponding non-cancerous liver was 100% and 30.4% respectively (P < 0.001). Seventy-four per cent (17/23) of HCCs showed strong hTERT expression, but none of the non-cancerous liver tissues did. hTERT expression of the 21-gauge needle biopsied specimens showed no significant difference from that of the surgical samples. The present study revealed that hTERT is strongly expressed in most HCCs, and that hTERT but not hTEP1 is a key component regulating telomerase activity in human liver.