Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of human malignancies. Overexpression of hTERT is essential in controlling the propagation of cancer cells. The CpG island located at hTERT promoter region is subjected to methylation modification in human cancer. In this perspective article, we discussed the diagnostic value of methylated hTERT in human cancers. The definitive diagnosis of most solid tumors is based on histological and immunohistochemical features. Under certain circumstances, however, the use of methylated hTERT might be useful in overcoming the limitation of the conventional methods. Methylated hTERT showed a good diagnostic power in discriminating cancer from benign or normal tissues. Nevertheless, differences in detection method, methylation site, cancer type, and histological subtype of cancer make it difficult to evaluate the actual diagnostic accuracy of methylated hTERT. Therefore, we performed subgroup analysis to assess the effects of these factors on the diagnostic efficiency of methylated hTERT. We demonstrated that quantitative MSP (qMSP) assay offers the highest discriminative power between normal and cancer in comparison with different detection methods. In addition, the methylated sites selected by different studies had an impact on the detection performance. Moreover, the diagnostic power of methylated hTERT was affected by cancer type and histological subtype. In conclusion, the existing evidence demonstrated that methylated hTERT is effective in cancer detection. Detailed profiling of the methylation sites to local the common methylation hotspot across human cancers is warranted to maximize the diagnostic value of methylated hTERT in cancer detection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes