Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 77–82

Leukocyte telomere length in a population-based case–control study of ovarian cancer: a pilot study

  • Lisa Mirabello
  • Montserrat Garcia-Closas
  • Richard Cawthon
  • Jolanta Lissowska
  • Louise A. Brinton
  • Beata Pepłońska
  • Mark E. Sherman
  • Sharon A. Savage
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10552-009-9436-6

Cite this article as:
Mirabello, L., Garcia-Closas, M., Cawthon, R. et al. Cancer Causes Control (2010) 21: 77. doi:10.1007/s10552-009-9436-6

Abstract

Objectives

Telomeres are structures at chromosome ends that contribute to maintaining genomic integrity. Telomere shortening with repeated cell divisions may lead to genomic instability and carcinogenesis. Studies suggest that shorter telomeres in constitutional DNA are associated with bladder, breast, lung, and renal cancer. Ovarian cancer tissues also have shortened telomeres and increased telomerase activity, suggesting that telomere abnormalities may be related to ovarian cancer.

Methods

We investigated leukocyte telomere length in 99 women with serous ovarian adenocarcinoma and 100 age-matched cancer-free controls enrolled in a population-based case–control study.

Results

Cases tended to have shorter telomeres than controls (Pwilcoxon = 0.002). Compared to subjects with telomere lengths in the longest tertile, those in the middle and shortest tertiles showed respective age-adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) of 2.69 (1.23–5.88) and 3.39 (1.54–7.46) (Ptrend = 0.002). Strongest associations were found for subjects with poorly differentiated carcinomas (OR = 4.89, 95% CI 1.93–12.34).

Conclusions

This study shows that short leukocyte telomeres are associated with serous ovarian adenocarcinoma. These findings should be confirmed in large, prospective studies.

Keywords

Ovarian cancerTelomere lengthCase–control studyEpidemiology

Copyright information

© US Government 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Mirabello
    • 1
  • Montserrat Garcia-Closas
    • 1
  • Richard Cawthon
    • 2
  • Jolanta Lissowska
    • 3
  • Louise A. Brinton
    • 1
  • Beata Pepłońska
    • 4
  • Mark E. Sherman
    • 1
  • Sharon A. Savage
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human ServicesBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human GeneticsUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Cancer Epidemiology and PreventionThe M. Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of OncologyWarsawPoland
  4. 4.Department of Occupational and Environmental EpidemiologyNofer Institute of Occupational MedicineLodzPoland
  5. 5.Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer InstituteRockvilleUSA