A diagnostic evaluation of serum human telomerase reverse transcriptase mRNA as a novel tumor marker for gynecologic malignancies

Norimasa Miura, Yasunobu Kanamori, Masakuni Takahashi, Reina Sato, Tomoe Tsukamoto, Shunsaku Takahashi, Tomomi Harada, Akiko Sano, Kohei Shomori, Tasuku Harada, Junzou Kigawa, Hisao Ito, Naoki Terakawa, Junichi Hasegawa, Goshi Shiota
Oncology Reports 2007, 17 (3): 541-8
Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) play an important role in many cancers including gynecological cancers. We previously reported the usefulness of a quantitative highly sensitive detection method for hTERT mRNA in the serum of cancer patients. By this method, we attempted to elucidate the diagnostic evaluation of serum hTERT mRNA for gynecologic malignancies. In 174 female patients with gynecological lesions (47 with ovarian lesions, 63 with uterine lesions, 2 with malignancies in other gynecological lesions, and 62 benign lesions) and 20 healthy individuals, we measured serum hTERT mRNA and EGFR mRNA by using the newly developed real-time quantitative RT-PCR. We examined their sensitivity and specificity in cancer diagnosis, clinical significance in comparison with conventional tumor markers, and their correlations with the clinical parameters by using multivariate analyses. Serum hTERT mRNA showed higher values in patients with gynecologic cancers than in those with benign diseases and healthy individuals. The hTERT mRNA level independently correlated with the presence of cancers (P=0.004 for both ovarian and uterine cancer) and clinical stage (P<0.001). The sensitivity and specificity of hTERT mRNA in cancer diagnosis was 74.4% and 74.1%, respectively. The hTERT mRNA level showed a significant correlation with CA125 by Pearson's relative test (P=0.035) and with histological findings in ovarian cancer by the Friedman test (P<0.004). EGFR mRNA did not display any differences between the diseases. hTERT mRNA is useful for diagnosing gynecologic cancer and is superior to conventional tumor markers. Therefore, serum hTERT mRNA is a novel and available biomarker for gynecologic malignancies.

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