Telomerase activity detected by quantitative assay in bladder carcinoma and exfoliated cells in urine

Roberta Fedriga, Roberta Gunelli, Oriana Nanni, Francesco Bacci, Dino Amadori, Daniele Calistri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early diagnosis is one of the most determining factors for patient survival. The detection of telomerase activity is a potentially promising tool in the diagnosis of bladder and other types of cancer due to the high expression of this enzyme in tumor cells. We carried out a quantitative evaluation of telomerase activity in urine samples in an attempt to determine a cut-off capable of identifying cancer patients. Telomerase activity was quantified by fluorescence TRAP assay in urine from 50 healthy volunteers and in urine and bioptic tumor samples from 56 previously untreated bladder cancer patients and expressed in arbitrary enzymatic units (AEU). Telomerase activity in urine ranged from 0 to 106 AEU (median 0) in healthy donors and from 0 to 282 AEU (median 87) in patients with cancer. A telomerase expression higher than the cut off value determined by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was observed in 78% of cases, regardless of tumor grade and in 71% (15/21) of cases of nonassessable or negative cytology. The quantitative analysis of telomerase activity in urine enabled us to define cut-off values characterized by different sensitivity and specificity. Cytologic and telomerase determination, used sequentially, enabled us to detect about 90% of tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-450
Number of pages5
JournalNeoplasia (United States)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Bladder tumor
  • Cytology
  • Diagnosis
  • Telomerase
  • Urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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