Background: Pulmonary fibrosis is a clinical problem with an enigmatic etiology with no effective therapy. Current therapies for lung fibrosis are ineffective for progression of lung fibrosis and preventing respiratory failure.
Objectives: The aim of this study is to explore the expression of Desmin, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and the telomerase subunit: human telomerase reverse transcriptase (h-TERT) in a spectrum of lung tissue samples consist of lung fibrosis, lung cancer, and healthy controls.
Materials and Methods: The expression of Desmin, α-SMA and hTERT were studied in samples of 15 pulmonary fibrosis samples, 16 samples of lung cancer and 14 healthy controls investigated. We evaluated Desmin, α-SMA as well as the expression of components of telomerase (TERT), by methods: RNA Extraction and cDNA synthesis, Real-Time quantitative PCR, Immunohistochemistry, all prepared from lung tissue paraffin blocked.
Results: α-SMA marker detected 1(8.3%) of healthy control and 11(91.7%) of lung fibrosis samples. The difference between groups was significant (p<0.001). Also the difference between healthy control 1(6.7%) and lung cancer 14 (93.3%) for α-SMA marker was a significant (P<0.001). It was a significant difference between healthy control and lung cancer for TERT expression (P=.005). TERT was not positive in any sample of neither healthy control nor lung fibrosis. For TERT, it was a significant difference between lung fibrosis and lung cancer by Fisher’s Exact Test (P=.004). Expression of TERT and α-SMA between small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was not statistically significant (P=.700, P=0758), respectively.
Conclusions: We recommend more investigation to regard α-SMA, Desmin in patients with lung fibrosis and follow them for possible cancer risk. Also, more study is needed to regard TERT as a marker in lung cancer. Assessment of these markers may have future implication to explain the same way of pathogenesis and carcinogenesis of fibrosis and cancer and for prevention or treatment