J Korean Med Sci.  2002 Jun;17(3):360-365. 10.3346/jkms.2002.17.3.360.

Telomere Length Changes in Colorectal Cancers and Polyps

  • 1Department of Surgery, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea. drkhr@chonnam.ac.kr
  • 2Research Institute of Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea.


Telomere Length Changes in Colorectal Cancers and Polyps Telomere shortening and telomerase activation occur frequently in cases of colorectal carcinoma. In this study, we correlated the clinicopathological parameters with the telomere length in colorectal carcinomas, colonic polyps, and normal colonic tissues. We also investigated whether the telomere length changes reflect the biologic behavior of tumors and different modes of tumor development. Telomere length was determined by terminal restriction fragment Southern blot analysis in 20 invasive colorectal carcinomas and normal mucosa from the same patients. We also examined 20 colonic polyps and associated normal mucosa. Telomere shortening was detected in 16/20 (80%), and telomere elongation in 2/20 (10%) cases of colorectal carcinoma, and no changes in 2 subjects. In the colonic polyp patients, shortening was detected in 4/20 (20%), elongation in 6/20 (30%), and no change in 10/20 (50%). The frequency of telomere shortening was significantly different between colorectal carcinoma and polyp groups. Decreased telomere length was noted in 92.9% (13/14) of Dukes' C and 50% (3/6) of Dukes' B. The difference between these two sub-groups was statistically significant. This study suggests that the telomere length in colorectal carcinomas is decreased upon the development of malignancy. A significant difference in telomere length between polyps and invasive colorectal carcinomas may reflect a different biologic behavior of colorectal carcinomas.


Telomere; Colorectal Neoplasms; Colonic Polyps; Clinicopathological Characteristics

MeSH Terms

Blotting, Southern
Colonic Polyps/*pathology
Colorectal Neoplasms/*pathology
Lymphatic Metastasis
Middle Aged
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