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Telomerase assay and nested polymerase chain reaction from nasopharyngeal swabs for early noninvasive detection of nasopharyngeal carcinoma


, : Telomerase assay and nested polymerase chain reaction from nasopharyngeal swabs for early noninvasive detection of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery 123(5): 624-629

The main purpose of this study was to analyze sensitivity and specificity of combining nested polymerase chain reaction for detection of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genome and telomerase assay for identifying nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Eighty patients with NPC and 27 healthy control subjects were included in this study; 97. 5% and 94.9% of NPC patients were positive for EBV genome and telomerase activity, respectively. When nasopharyngeal swabs were tested, 95.7% presented the EBV genome and 85.5% were positive for telomerase expression. The sensitivity for counting either positive result of these two techniques was 100%. Among the 27 control subjects, only 6 and 5 cases were positive for EBV DNA and telomerase activity, respectively. This indicated a specificity of 92.6% when both positive results were included. At present, early diagnosis of NPC requires multiple biopsy specimens, especially to identify subclinical cases. Because this study showed a very high sensitivity for detecting NPC from swabs when combining the telomerase assay and nested polymerase chain reaction technique, this noninvasive technique may be a good candidate for screening of subclinical NPC, especially before multiple biopsy specimens are obtained.

US$19.90

PMID: 11077353

DOI: 10.1067/mhn.2000.109368


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