Aims: to determine correlations between relative quantities of telomerase catalytic subunit m-ribonucleic acid (hTERT mRNA) and conventional clinicopathological parameters (such as site, size and grade of tumour, the presence of regional lymph node metastases, and, in particular, survival) in patients with laryngeal and hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs).
Material and methods: The relative quantity of hTERT mRNA was analysed by a commercially available LightCycler Telo TAGGG hTERT Quantification Kit in 56 cases of SCC (40 laryngeal and 16 hypopharyngeal). The association with cancer-specific survival was evaluated by univariate and multivariate analysis.
Results: Location of the tumour in the hypopharynx was the only significant negative predictive factor for survival, as determined by univariate analysis (p = 0.028). Although a tendency towards a better overall survival was observed for female patients younger than 50 years, for lower tumour grades and sizes, and for the absence of regional lymph node metastases, the prognostic significance of these factors could not be confirmed. No differences existed in hTERT mRNA expression between laryngeal and hypopharyngeal SCCs. Furthermore, no correlation was found between the relative quantities of hTERT mRNA and the tumour size, regional lymph node metastases or survival of patients with laryngeal or hypopharyngeal SCCs.
Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that genetic abnormalities other than telomerase reactivation are responsible for progression of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal SCCs.