OBJECTIVES: Detection of telomerase activity in pancreatic juice samples by telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) has been shown to be a useful diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer. However, some investigations suggested that the activity was not specific to pancreatic juice from pancreatic cancer. In the present study using an in situ TRAP assay, we investigated the specificity of telomerase activity in pancreatic juice for pancreatic cancer. METHODS: Pancreatic juice were obtained endoscopically at endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography from 10 patients with pancreatic cancer, 4 with intraductal papillary neoplasm, and 3 with normal pancreas. In situ telomerase activity in pancreatic juice samples was examined by in situ TRAP assay and was compared with the results of cytological examination. RESULTS: Of 10 samples from pancreatic cancer, high telomerase activity in situ was detected in 9 and cancer cells in 7. Of 4 samples from intraductal papillary neoplasm, low telomerase activity in situ and mild atypical cells were detected in 2. Telomerase activity in situ was detected in none of 3 samples from normal pancreas. CONCLUSIONS: Detection of in situ telomerase activity in pancreatic juice might help discriminate pancreatic cancer from other pancreatic diseases.
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