Differential roles of telomere attrition in type I and II endometrial carcinogenesis

Esra A. Akbay, Cristina M. Contreras, Samanthi A. Perera, James P. Sullivan, Russell R. Broaddus, John O. Schorge, Raheela Ashfaq, Hossein Saboorian, Kwok Kin Wong, Diego H. Castrillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Endometrial cancer has been generally categorized into two broad groups of tumors, type I (TI) and type II (TII), with distinct epidemiological/clinical features and genetic alterations. Because telomere attrition appears to trigger genomic instability in certain cancers, we explored the role of telomere dysfunction in endometrial cancer by analyzing telomeres and other markers of telomere status in both tumor types. We describe a new method, telomere chromogenic in situ hybridization, which permitted us to detect cells with short telomeres relative to control (stromal) cells within the same tissue section. Using this method,we found that both types of tumor cells had short telomeres. However, only TII tumors were significantly associated with critical telomere shortening in adjacent, morphologically normal epithelium, suggesting that telomere shortening contributes to the initiation of TII but not TI tumors. To explore this hypothesis, we analyzed mice with critically short telomeres and documented distinctive endometrial lesions that histologically resembled the in situ precursor of TII serous carcinomas; these lesions have not been observed previously in TI mouse models of endometrial cancer. Based on this and previous studies, we propose a model in which telomere attrition contributes to the initiation of TII and progression of TI endometrial cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-544
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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