Telomere length in peripheral blood and breast cancer risk in a prospective case-cohort analysis: results from the Sister Study
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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.
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.
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.
This prospective investigation does not support telomere length in blood cells as a biomarker for breast cancer risk.
KeywordsBreast cancer Telomere length Prospective study Biomarker qPCR
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.
- 12.Zheng YL, Ambrosone C, Byrne C, Davis W, Nesline M, McCann SE (2010) Telomere length in blood cells and breast cancer risk: investigations in two case–control studies. Breast Cancer Res Treat 120(3):769–775Google Scholar