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Open Access Research

The expression of hTR and hTERT in human breast cancer: correlation with clinico-pathological parameters

Saied Hosseini-Asl1, Morteza Atri2, Mohammad H Modarressi1, Mohamed Salhab3, Kefah Mokbel3 and Parvin Mehdipour1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Genetics, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR, Iran

2 Cancer Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences/Day General Hospital, Tehran, IR, Iran

3 St George's Hospital, London, SW17 0QT, UK

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International Seminars in Surgical Oncology 2006, 3:20  doi:10.1186/1477-7800-3-20

Published: 22 August 2006

Abstract

Background

Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein enzyme that synthesises telomeres after cell division and maintains chromosomal stability leading to cellular immortalization. Telomerase has been associated with negative prognostic indicators in some studies. The present study aims to detect any association between telomerase sub-units: hTERT and hTR and the prognostic indicators including tumour's size and grade, nodal status and patient's age.

Methods

Tumour samples from 46 patients with primary invasive breast cancer and 3 patients with benign tumours were collected. RT-PCR analysis was used for the detection of hTR, hTERT, and PGM1 (as a housekeeping) genes expression.

Results

The expression of hTR and hTERT was found in 31(67.4%) and 38 (82.6%) samples respectively. We observed a significant association between hTR gene expression and younger age at diagnosis (p = 0.019) when comparing patients ≤ 40 years with those who are older than 40 years. None of the benign tumours expressed hTR gene. However, the expression of hTERT gene was revealed in 2 samples.

No significant association between hTR and hTERT expression and tumour's grade, stage and nodal status was seen.

Conclusion

The expression of hTR and hTERT seems to be independent of tumour's stage. hTR expression probably plays a greater role in mammary tumourogenesis in younger women (≤ 40 years) and this may have therapeutic implications in the context of hTR targeting strategies.