Telomerase activity in non-small cell lung carcinomas correlates with smoking status

G Xinarianos, F M Scott, T Liloglou, W Prime, J Callaghan, J R Gosney, J K Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Human telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein DNA polymerase which maintains the telomeric region of human chromosomes and has been detected in all types of human cancer tested. We used the telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay to examine 71 non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) and their adjacent normal tissue. Telomerase activity was detected in 61 (86%) of the 71 NSCLC examined but not in any of the matched normal lung tissues. A significant correlation was found between the presence of telomerase activity and current smoking status at the time of diagnosis (p=0. 0076). In addition, a trend was found between telomerase activity and smoking exposure (p=0.06). Our findings demonstrate that telomerase activity is a common phenomenon in NSCLC cases but not in the normal lung. However, certain cases in former smokers may follow a telomerase independent pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-5
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 1999


  • Adenocarcinoma/enzymology
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung/enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/enzymology
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Genes, p53
  • Humans
  • Lung/enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms/enzymology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reference Values
  • Smoking
  • Telomerase/metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


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