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Volume 6 (2002), Issue 1, Pages 43-46

Absence of Telomerase Activity in Malignant Bone Tumors and Soft-Tissue Sarcomas

1Department of Reconstructive Surgery, University of Saarland, Homburg/Saar D-66421, Germany
2Department of Human Genetics, University of Saarland, Geb. 68, Homburg/Saar D-66421, Germany
3Department of Experimental Physics, University of Saarland, Geb. 22, Saarbrücken 68111, Germany
4Department of Trauma, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Ulm, Ulm 89070, Germany
5Department of Surgery, Ludwig Maximillian-University of Munich, Klinikum Innenstadt, Munich 80336, Germany
6Department of Physiological Chemistry I, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg 97074, Germany
7Department of Surgery, Elisabeth-Hospital, Neuwied 56564, Germany
8Department of Physiological Chemistry I, Biocenter of the University of Wuerzburg, Am Hubland, Wuerzburg D-97074, Germany

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose: Telomerase activity appears to play a crucial role in the development of many tumors. More than 80% of all malignant human tumors show an increased telomerase activity. However, conflicting results have been reported about telomerase activity in sarcomas. The aim of the study was to obtain more information about telomerase activity in sarcomas based on a large number of cases.

Methods: Telomerase activity was measured in 69 different tumor samples (33 malignant bone tumors and 36 soft tissue sarcomas). Tumor samples were obtained intraoperatively and frozen immediately in liquid nitrogen. Telomerase activity was detected by the telomeric repeat amplification assay (TRAP-assay).

Results: Only 7% of the samples showed telomerase activity. No correlation between staging and telomerase activity could be observed.

Discussion: The fact that only five out of 69 examined tumor samples showed a telomerase activity provides experimental evidence that in sarcomas the reactivation of telomerase may play a subordinate role. Our results suggest that alternative mechanisms for cell immortalization, yet to be determined, seem to be involved in the development and/or maintenance of soft-tissue sarcomas and malignant bone tumors.