VOLUME 38 - NUMBER 5 - 2017

Study of the role of telomerase in colorectal cancer: preliminary report and literature review

  • Minafra M., Laforgia R., Sederino M.G., Fedele S., Delvecchio A., Lattarulo S., Carbotta G., Fabiano G.
  • Original Article, 213-218
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  • Aim. The aim of our study is to focus on hTERT (human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase) expression to identify tumoral tissue after a comparison to TP53 and KRAS. More than 85% of cancer cells contain genetic aberrations and also overexpression of hTERT, and, in fact, the promoter of hTERT characterizes all malignant cells.

    Patients and methods. Our sample is composed of 18 patients, including 10 with CRC that underwent surgical procedure and 8 patients without CRC, which represent the control group. The hTERT gene expression, KRAS and p53 were evaluated by methodical Real Time - PCR on RNA extracted from tumor tissues, peritumoral tissue and control cases.

    Results. Within the CRC group the evaluation of the tumor tissue showed an increase of hTERT expression with a statistical significance (> 0.1) in 5 of these, also associated with substantial increase of KRAS (> 0.2). The peritumoral tissue assessment showed important increase in KRAS in 4 patients (> 0.2), while hTERT is not found to be particularly increased. The value of p53 did not show any particular significance (<0.1).

    Discussion. The analysis of our data leads us to consider that the increase of hTERT is evident in patients suffering from CRC and that some of them will become significant in relation to the increase of KRAS and independent of p53. In peritumoral tissues, however, KRAS increases considerably, instead hTERT maintains a low concentration and this is compatible with the cellular evolution of the neoplastic tissue adjacent to the tumor.

    Conclusions. hTERT could be used for diagnosis and prognosis in the future, to be able to identify the risk of tumor progression and to set up an adequate therapy.

  • KEY WORDS: Telomerase - Colorectal cancer - KRAS - P53.