Author(s): Miyazu YM, Miyazawa T, Hiyama K, Kurimoto N, Iwamoto Y,
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Abstract Centrally located lung cancers in smokers frequently associated with subsequent primary tumors. We evaluated the telomerase expression chronologically in noncancerous epithelia as a risk factor of susceptibility to lung cancer development. Telomerase protein expression was examined in situ by immunohistochemistry in 26 noncancerous bronchial epithelia adjacent to centrally located early-stage lung cancers in sequential 23 patients treated by photodynamic therapy or surgery among 206 patients who underwent autofluorescence bronchoscopy from 1997 to 2003. Among the 15 lesions in 12 patients treated by photodynamic therapy alone, 11 lesions achieved complete remission after photodynamic therapy, and none of their noncancerous bronchial epithelia was telomerase positive. On the contrary, in the remaining four lesions, either recurrence or secondary lung cancer developed adjacent to the successfully treated primary cancer within 26 months, and the telomerase protein expression in noncancerous epithelia was detected before the secondary cancer development (P < 0.001). The overall relationship of human telomerase reverse transcriptase positivity in noncancerous epithelia and subsequent lung cancer development, including patients treated by radiation or surgery, showed higher significance (P < 0.0001). Histologically "normal" bronchial epithelia in smokers may unphysiologically express telomerase as a field, and such epithelia are likely susceptible to develop lung cancer. We propose that ectopic expression of telomerase in bronchial epithelia may precede transformation in human lung cancer development and that detection of telomerase protein in noncancerous bronchial epithelia will become a useful marker detecting high-risk patients for lung cancer development.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy