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Volume 25, Number 1, 2020

Change of telomerase activity in peripheral blood of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma pre and post curative treatment

M. S. Ganesh, Geeta S. Narayanan, Rishabh Kumar


Background There is no clinically applicable tumor marker for head and neck cancers. Telomerase is detected in approximately 90% of all malignant tumors, it may predict poor or favorable outcomes, thus being both a highly attractive biomarker and a target for the development of molecular-based cancer diagnostics, prognostics, and therapeutics Aim Primary aim was to detect a change of telomerase activity before and after curative treatment. Materials and Methods Patients with biopsy proven head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, stage I-IVB treated with a curative intent, performance status 0–2 and malignancy at one primary site were included in the study. Telomerase levels were tested in tissue biopsy. Plasma telomerase levels were tested at baseline, 5 days and at 3 months after treatment using ELISA. Results Raised plasma telomerase activity was seen in all the patients with cancer at baseline. The mean plasma telomerase level at baseline was 861.4522 ng/ml, at 5 days after completion of curative treatment was 928.92 ng/ml and at 3 months of follow up was 898.87 ng/ml. The mean tissue biopsy telomerase level was 19768.53 ng/mg. There was a significant increase in baseline telomerase levels in cancer patients compared to normals (volunteers) (t = −3.52, p = 0.001).There was a significant increase in plasma levels of telomerase at 3 months compared to baseline values (z = −1.98, p = 0.04). The increase in telomerase level did not correlate with the response of the treatment. Conclusion In patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas treated with a curative intent, the change in levels of telomerase correlates neither with the disease status nor with prognostic factors.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2020; 25(1) : 28-34

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