Cancer Causes & Control

, 22:1061 | Cite as

Telomere length in peripheral blood and breast cancer risk in a prospective case-cohort analysis: results from the Sister Study

  • Sangmi Kim
  • Dale P. Sandler
  • Gleta Carswell
  • Lisa A. De Roo
  • Christine G. Parks
  • Richard Cawthon
  • Clarice R. Weinberg
  • Jack A. Taylor
Brief report

Abstract

Objective

Telomeres are required for maintaining genomic integrity and may play a role in carcinogenesis. Some, but not all, epidemiologic studies have found that short telomeres in leukocytes are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. To further elucidate this potential association, we examined telomere length in relation to breast cancer risk in prospectively collected blood samples from the Sister Study, a cohort of women aged 35–74 years who have a sister with breast cancer.

Methods

We performed a case-cohort analysis comparing incident breast cancer cases (n = 342) with a subcohort (n = 735), randomly selected from 29,026 participants, enrolled by June 1, 2007. Relative telomere length in peripheral blood cells was estimated using a single-tube monochrome multiplex quantitative PCR assay.

Results

No association was observed between telomere length and breast cancer risk. Compared with the longest quartile, hazard ratios (HR) associated with the second, third, and the shortest quartile were 0.91 [95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.62–1.34], 1.11 (95% CI: 0.77–1.60), and 0.93 (95% CI: 0.64–1.35), respectively. Subgroup analyses by menopausal status, invasiveness, or estrogen receptor status of breast cancer did not reveal evidence of association between telomere length in blood cells and subsequent breast cancer risk.

Conclusions

This prospective investigation does not support telomere length in blood cells as a biomarker for breast cancer risk.

Keywords

Breast cancer Telomere length Prospective study Biomarker qPCR 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the Intramural Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Z01 ES044005 and Z01 ES049033). Authors are grateful for technical support received from the Molecular Genetics Core Facility at NIEHS.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sangmi Kim
    • 1
  • Dale P. Sandler
    • 1
  • Gleta Carswell
    • 2
  • Lisa A. De Roo
    • 1
  • Christine G. Parks
    • 1
  • Richard Cawthon
    • 3
  • Clarice R. Weinberg
    • 4
  • Jack A. Taylor
    • 5
  1. 1.Epidemiology BranchNational Institute of Environmental Health SciencesResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Molecular CarcinogenesisNational Institute of Environmental Health SciencesResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  3. 3.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  4. 4.Biostatistics BranchNational Institute of Environmental Health SciencesResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  5. 5.Epidemiology Branch, Laboratory of Molecular CarcinogenesisNational Institute of Environmental Health SciencesResearch Triangle ParkUSA

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