A ground glass opacity (GGO) lung lesion may represent early stage adenocarcinoma, which has an excellent prognosis upon prompt surgical resection. However, GGO lesions have broad differential diagnoses, including both benign and malignant lesions. Our objective was to study telomere length and telomerase activity in patients with suspected lung cancer in which GGO was the predominant radiographic feature. Knowledge of telomere biology may help distinguish malignant from benign radiographic lesions and guide risk assessment of these lesions. Peripheral blood samples were taken from 22 patients with suspected adenocarcinoma with the GGO radiographic presentation. Multidisciplinary discussion confirmed the need for surgery in all cases. We used an age and gender-matched group without known lung disease as a control. Telomere length and aggregates were assessed by quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (QFISH) and quantitative PCR. Cell senescence was evaluated by senescence-associated heterochromatin foci. Subjects with GGO lesions had a higher percentage of lymphocytes with shorter telomeres (Q-FISH, P = 0.003). Furthermore, relative telomere length was also reduced among the GGO cases (qPCR, P < 0.05). Increased senescence was observed in the GGO group compared to controls (P < 0.001), with significant correlation between the senescence-associated heterochromatin foci and aggregate formation (r = −0.7 and r = −0.44 for cases and controls, respectively). In conclusion, patients with resectable early adenocarcinoma demonstrate abnormal telomere length and cell senescence in peripheral blood leukocytes compared to control subjects. Abnormal telomere biology in the peripheral blood may increase suspicion of early adenocarcinoma among patients with GGO lesions.
- blood marker