Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) is one of the main functional subunits of the telomerase enzyme, which functions to increase telomere length. Studies have suggested that TERT may be important to the etiology of colorectal cancer. In this study we evaluate seven TERT SNPs in 1555 incident colon cancer cases and 1956 matched controls and in 754 incident rectal cancer cases and 959 matched controls. We observed that two TERT SNPs were associated with colon cancer. TERT rs2736118 was associated with increased risk of colon cancer (OR = 1.31, 95% CI 1.02, 1.69) and TERT-CLPTM1L rs2853668 was inversely associated with colon cancer (OR = 0.71, 95% CI 0.55, 0.92). TERT-CLPTM1L rs2853668 also was inversely associated with rectal cancer (OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.43, 0.90). BMI interacted significantly with three TERT SNPs to alter risk of colon cancer. Those with the variant allele and who were obese had the greatest risk of colon cancer. TERT-CLPTM1L rs2853668 interacted significantly with aspirin/NSAID use, where those with the AA genotype had a much lower risk of colon cancer when using aspirin/NSAIDs than those with the other genotypes. Several TERT SNPs were uniquely associated with CIMP+ and MSI tumors. These data confirm earlier reports of the association between TERT-CLPTM1L and colon and rectal cancer. Our detection of a significant interaction with BMI for multiple TERT SNPs and unique associations with CIMP+ tumors enhance our understanding of TERT's role in colon carcinogenesis. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.