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Br J Cancer. 2010 Apr 13;102(8):1300-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605644.

Relationship between telomere shortening, genetic instability, and site of tumour origin in colorectal cancers.

Author information

1
Department of Oncology and Surgical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Telomeres, located at chromosome ends, are progressively shortened during each cell cycle by replication-dependent loss of DNA termini. Although maintenance of telomere length is critical for cell-replicative potential and tumourigenesis, the erosion of telomeres can lead to genetic instability, a pivotal mechanism in the neoplastic process.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

A total of 118 colorectal cancer (CRC) samples (53 right-colon, 30 left-colon, and 35 rectal tumours) and corresponding adjacent non-cancerous tissues were evaluated for telomere length, p53 mutation, and microsatellite instability (MSI). Telomere length was estimated by real-time PCR.

RESULTS:

Telomeres were significantly shorter in CRCs than in adjacent tissues, regardless of tumour stage and grade, site, or genetic alterations (P<0.0001). Moreover, in normal tissues, but not in tumours, telomere length inversely correlated with age (r=-0.24, P=0.017). Telomere length in CRCs did not differ with tumour progression or p53 status; however, in CRCs carrying the wild-type p53, telomeres were significantly shorter in tumours with MSI than in those with stable microsatellites (P=0.027). Furthermore, telomere length differed according to tumour location, being longer in rectal cancers (P=0.03).

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest that telomere shortening is a key initial event in colorectal carcinogenesis. The extent of telomere erosion is related to tumour origin site and may be influenced by the mismatch repair pathway.

PMID:
20386541
PMCID:
PMC2856015
DOI:
10.1038/sj.bjc.6605644
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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