Predictive Role of Telomerase Activity in the Clinical Outcome of Patients with Benign Lesions of the Uterine Cervix or CIN
Telomerase, a fundamental marker of neoplastic transformation, is widely expressed in both premalignant intraepithelial lesions and in most malignant lesions of the uterine cervix. We determined telomerase activity (TA) in uterine cervix by Repeat Amplification Protocol (TRAP) in a series of 62 cases, 44 with benign diseases (inflammation and/or metaplasia and/or acanthosis) and 18 with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). No significant differences in TA were observed between benign lesions (median AEU value 36, range 0–119) and CIN (median AEU value 30, range 0–65). Conversely, TA was significantly higher in subjects who showed CIN evolution (65 range 45–119) than in disease-free individuals (34 range 0–95, p = 0.017) and in 1 patient with a CIN2 lesion who relapsed after 5 years. Our results suggest that TA of the uterine cervix is capable of predicting CIN evolution or relapse, thus indicating its potential usefulness as a prognostic marker in clinical surveillance programs.