Telomerase activity and telomere length in primary and metastatic tumors from pediatric bone cancer patients
Sotillo-Piñeiro E, Sierrasesúmaga L, Patiño-García A.
Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA.
The presence of telomerase activity has been analyzed in almost all tumor types and tumor-derived cell lines. However, there are very few studies that focus on the presence of telomerase activity in bone tumors, and most of them report analysis on very few samples or bone-derived cell lines.
The objective of this study was to analyze the telomere length and telomerase activity in primary tumors and metastatic lesions from pediatric osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma patients. The presence of telomerase activity was analyzed by the telomeric repeat amplification protocol assay, and the telomere length was measured by Southern blot.
Results were related to survival and clinical outcome. Telomerase activity was detected in 85% of the bone tumor metastases (100% Ewing's sarcomas and 75% osteosarcomas) but only in 12% of the primary tumors (11.1% osteosarcomas and 12.5% Ewing's sarcomas). Bone tumor tissues with telomerase activity had mean telomere lengths 3 kb shorter than those with no detectable telomerase activity (p = 0.041). The presence of telomerase activity was associated with survival (p = 0.009), and longer event-free survival periods were found in patients who lacked telomerase activity compared with those who had detectable telomerase activity levels in their tumor tissues (p = 0.037).
The presence of longer telomeres in primary pediatric bone tumors than in metastases could be indicative of alternative mechanisms of lengthening of telomeres for their telomere maintenance rather than telomerase activity. Nevertheless, the activation of telomerase seems to be a crucial step in the malignant progression and acquisition of invasive capability of bone tumors.
CITATION Pediatr Res. 2004 Feb;55(2):231-5