Detection of telomerase activity in oral rinses from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients

Joseph Califano, Steven A. Ahrendt, Glenn Meininger, William H. Westra, Wayne M. Koch, David Sidransky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein that maintains telomere length and whose activity is associated with escape from cellular senescence. Telomerase activity has been found in germline, immortalized, and malignant tumor cells. Using a modified PCR-based assay for telomerase activity, 26 of 35 (80%) primary, fresh, head and neck squamous cell cancer specimens and 3 of 6 head and neck squamous dysplastic lesions possessed telomerase activity. In addition, 14 of 44 (32%) oral rinses from a separate group of head and neck squamous cell cancer patients contained detectable telomerase activity, whereas 1 of 22 (5%) oral rinses from normal control patients exhibited telomerase activity. Telomerase activity in oral rinses was compared with corresponding activity in paired primary tumor samples for 19 cases: 7 of 19 demonstrated activity in both tumor and oral rinse, 2 of 19 lacked activity in both tumor and oral rinse, 10 of 19 tumors demonstrated activity that could not be detected in corresponding oral rinses, and there were no examples of positive oral rinses with corresponding negative tumors. Although currently limited in its sensitivity, analysis of telomerase activity in oral rinses represents a novel method to detect the presence of cancer cells shed in the upper aerodigestive tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5720-5722
Number of pages3
JournalCancer Research
Volume56
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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