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Short hairpin ribonucleic acid targeting the telomerase catalytic unit of messenger ribonucleic acid significantly limits the growth of laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma in nude mice

  • Xu-Hong Zhou (a1), Shi-Ming Chen (a2), Dan Liu (a2), Yan Wang (a2), Bo-Kui Xiao (a2) and Ze-Zhang Tao (a2)...



Telomerase is an attractive molecular target because it is active in most malignant cells but undetectable in most normal somatic cells. Small, interfering ribonucleic acid segments have been shown to be effective tools for inhibiting the expression of a given gene within human cells. In the present study, we examined the effects of short hairpin ribonucleic acid expression vectors on the growth of laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma in nude mice, and we assessed potential side effects in these animals.


Short hairpin ribonucleic acid expression vectors targeting the messenger ribonucleic acid of the telomerase catalytic unit were constructed and transfected into Hep-2 human laryngeal squamous cells carcinoma in nude mice. Apoptosis and telomerase catalytic unit expression within tumour cells were evaluated after treating with short hairpin ribonucleic acid. Peripheral blood was collected for haematological and biochemical analysis.


The findings demonstrated that short hairpin ribonucleic acid plasmids could inhibit tumour cell growth by 76.5 per cent, and that many tumour cells underwent necrotic or apoptotic cell death. There were no significant side effects of short hairpin ribonucleic acid on the heart, liver, kidney, spleen or blood system in this experimental model.


These results indicated that the short hairpin ribonucleic acid expression vector targeted at the telomerase catalytic unit of messenger ribonucleic acid significantly inhibited the growth of laryngeal carcinoma in nude mice, with no significant side effects on the experimental animals.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Ze-Zhang Tao, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Renmin Hospital, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, PR China. Fax: +86 27 88043958, E-mail:


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