Telomerase activity in human renal cell carcinoma

Christer Mehle, Mieczyslaw A. Piatyszek, Börje Ljungberg, Jerry W. Shay, Göran Roos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Telomeres have a vital role in maintaining chromosome stability and are essential for long term viability. Since the very ends of linear chromosomes cannot replicate, telomeres shorten in normal somatic cells eventually resulting in growth inhibition. However, most immortal cell lines maintain stable telomeres indicating that mechanisms exist to compensate for the end replication problem. Telomerase activity, leading to synthesis of telomeric DNA repeats, has been proposed to be an important step in the immortalization process of tumor cells. In the present study, 56 renal cell carcinomas were tested for telomerase activity using the sensitive TRAP (telomeric repeat amplification protocol). Forty of the analysed tumors (71%) were positive for telomerase activity, whereas none of the 56 corresponding normal kidney samples showed telomerase activity. All telomerase negative tumors had a reduction in mean telomere restriction fragment (TRF) length and a decrease in total telomere repeat hybridization signal, though cases were observed with an increase in peak TRF lengths. No obvious association between the presence of telomerase activity and clinicopathological parameters (histopathologic grade, DNA-ploidy, stage and clinical outcome) was found. The high frequency of detection of telomerase activity in the renal cell carcinomas indicates that this enzyme is likely to be an important factor involved in the evolution of this tumor type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • Clinical course
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Telomerase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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