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Introduction and Aim of the Work: Telomeres ensure genome integrity during replication. Loss of telomeric function leads to cell immortalization, accumulation of genetic alterations and tumorigenesis. Telomere length (TL) in previous studies in breast cancer patients suggested the possibility of having valuable prognostic marker.
The goal of this study was to evaluate TL in breast cancer patients by telomere specific fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in peripheral blood leucocytes (PBL) to evaluate the difference between their TL and control group also to correlate between TL and clinicopathological characteristics and survival of those patients
Patients and Methods: This is a prospective study which included 83 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with Stage I to stage IIIC and 20 healthy individuals as control group, for detection of peptide nucleic acid (PNA) by telomere specific FISH.
Results: Our results showed that, the mean length of telomere was 32.26 ±10.08. Patients with short TL had inferior DFS and OS than those with long TL. We found significant associations of short telomere length with advanced stages of disease, starting from stage IIB onwards and with high lymph node involvement. Furthermore, our results showed a significant association with positive Her2 neu expression in tumor (P = 0.001). On the other hand, our results didn't show any significant association with hormonal receptors status.
Conclusion: TL assessment in PBL could be used as a valuable prognostic marker in breast cancer patients.