Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011 Jun;20(6):1238-50. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0005. Epub 2011 Apr 5.

The association of telomere length and cancer: a meta-analysis.

Author information

  • 1Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Telomeres shorten with each cell division and are essential for chromosomal stability. Short telomeres in surrogate tissues (e.g., blood cells) are associated with increased cancer risk in several case-control studies, but findings are inconsistent in prospective studies.

METHODS:

We systematically reviewed studies published prior to August 30, 2010, on the association between telomere length (TL) in surrogate tissues and cancer. There were 27 reports on 13 cancers and/or incident cancer investigating this association. The majority, 16, were retrospective case--control studies, 11 were prospective studies. Meta-analyses were conducted to determine ORs and 95% CIs for these studies.

RESULTS:

Studies on bladder, esophageal, gastric, head and neck, ovarian, renal, and overall incident cancer found associations between short telomeres and these cancers. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, breast, lung, and colorectal cancer reports were inconsistent. Single studies on endometrial, prostate, and skin cancers were null. In a random-effects meta-analysis, short TL was significantly associated with cancer in retrospective studies (pooled OR for the shortest TL quartile compared with the longest: 2.9, 95% CI: 1.75-4.8, P < 0.0001). The pooled OR for prospective studies was 1.16 (95% CI: 0.87-1.54, P = 0.32). All studies combined yielded a pooled OR of 1.96 (95% CI: 1.37-2.81, P = 0.0001) for the association of short TL and cancer.

CONCLUSION AND IMPACT:

There is suggestive evidence that short surrogate tissue TL is associated with cancer; the strongest evidence exists for bladder, esophageal, gastric, and renal cancers. Additional prospective studies with consistent methodology are needed to confirm this hypothesis.

©2011 AACR.

PMID:
21467229
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3111877
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (4)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk