Telomere length and genetic analyses in population-based studies of endometrial cancer risk

Authors

  • Jennifer Prescott PhD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Monica McGrath ScD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • I-Min Lee MPH, ScD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Julie E. Buring MS, ScD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Immaculata De Vivo MPH, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    • Department of Epidemiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
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    • Fax: (617) 525-2008


Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Telomeres are protective structures at the ends of linear chromosomes, regulated by a host of associated proteins. When telomeres become dysfunctional, genomic instability ensues. The vast majority of cells undergo apoptosis, although a rare cell may survive and become tumorigenic.

METHODS:

The authors used conditional logistic regression to examine relative telomere length in peripheral blood leukocytes, genetic variants at telomere maintenance gene loci (TERT, TNKS2, POT1, TERF1, TERF2), and endometrial cancer risk in case-control studies nested within the Nurses' Health Study and the Women's Health Study.

RESULTS:

Relative telomere length was significantly inversely correlated with body mass index and weight gain since age 18 years. The authors did not observe a relationship between relative telomere length and endometrial cancer risk. Women in the shortest quartile had a multivariate-adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 1.20 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.73-1.96; P for trend = .37) compared with women in the longest quartile. The authors found an elevation in endometrial cancer risk among women carrying at least 1 minor allele of RS2736122 (TERT; OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.01-1.38) or RS12412538 (TNKS2; OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.00-1.34).

CONCLUSIONS:

Relative telomere length was not associated with endometrial cancer risk. Other aspects of telomere maintenance remain to be explored. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.

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