Quantification in the serum of the catalytic fraction of reverse telomerase: a useful prognostic factor in advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Camps C., Sirera R., Bremnes RM., Ródenas V., Blasco A., Safont MJ., Garde J., Juarez A., Caballero C., Sanchez JJ., Taron M., Rosell R.
The purpose of this analysis was to study the association between the quantity of free circulating DNA and clinical variables in 99 advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients (NSCLC). The quantification in the serum of the gene of the catalytic fraction of telomerase (hTERT) by RT-PCR was used as a reference of the total amount of free DNA in blood. Patients were treated with cisplatin and docetaxel. The median hTERT level for patients in stage IIIB was 70.7 ng/ml vs. 53.1 ng/ml in patients in stage IV (p= 0.35). There was no association between hTERT values and therapy response, 53.9 ng/ml in the complete response (CR) + partial response (PR) group vs. 54.1 ng/ml in the stable disease (SD) + progressive disease (PD) group (p=0.23). In the multivariate analysis, hTERT was an independent predictive variable for time to progression (TTP) Hazard ratio (HR) 2.0, CI 95% 1.2-3.4, p=0.009) and overall survival (OS) (HR 2.4 CI 95% 1.3-4.3, p=0.004). The analysis of TTP and OS with a cut-off of hTERT at 40 ng/ml revealed that patients about this level had statistically poorer TTP (4 vs. 7 months, p= 0.009) and OS (5 vs. 15 months, p<0.0001). In conclusion, in advanced NSCLC, high serum hTERT levels may be a poor prognostic indicator for TTP and OS.