Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 11, pp 8703–8713 | Cite as

The relationship between telomere length and clinicopathologic characteristics in colorectal cancers among Tunisian patients

  • Raja Mzahma
  • Maher Kharrat
  • Fadhel Fetiriche
  • Bouasker
  • Mounir Ben Moussa
  • Zoubeir Ben Safta
  • Chadli Dziri
  • AbdelJelil Zaouche
  • Habiba Chaabouni-Bouhamed
Research Article


Alterations in telomere dynamics have emerged as having a causative role in carcinogenesis. Both the telomere attrition contribute to tumor initiation via increasing chromosomal instability and that the telomere elongation induces cell immortalization and leads to tumor progression. The objectives of this study are to investigate the dynamics of telomere length in colorectal cancer (CRC) and the clinicopathological parameters implicated. We measured the relative telomere length (RTL) in cancerous tissues and in corresponding peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) using quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) from 94 patients with CRC. Telomere length correlated significantly in cancer tissues and corresponding PBL (r = 0.705). Overall, cancer tissue had shorter telomeres than PBL (p = 0.033). In both cancer tissue and PBL, the RTL was significantly correlated with age groups (p = 0.008 and p = 0.012, respectively). The RTL in cancer tissue was significantly longer in rectal tumors (p = 0.04) and in the late stage of tumors (p = 0.01). In PBL, the RTL was significantly correlated with the macroscopic aspect of tumors (p = 0.02). In addition, the telomere-length ratio of cancer to corresponding PBL increased significantly with late-stage groups. Shortening of the telomere was detected in 44.7 %, elongation in 36.2 %, and telomeres were unchanged in 19.1 % of 94 tumors. Telomere shortening occurred more frequently in the early stage of tumors (p = 0.01). This study suggests that the telomere length in PBL is affected by the macroscopic aspect of tumors and that telomere length in cancer tissues is a marker for progression of CRC and depends on tumor-origin site.


Telomere length Colorectal cancer Clinicopathologic characteristics 



We thank Dr. Neila Attia Romdhane for her help in the statistics part and Dr. Kawthar Ellouz for her english editing.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raja Mzahma
    • 1
  • Maher Kharrat
    • 1
  • Fadhel Fetiriche
    • 3
  • Bouasker
    • 4
  • Mounir Ben Moussa
    • 5
  • Zoubeir Ben Safta
    • 3
  • Chadli Dziri
    • 4
  • AbdelJelil Zaouche
    • 5
  • Habiba Chaabouni-Bouhamed
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Genetics LaboratoryFaculty of Medicine of TunisTunisTunisia
  2. 2.Human Genetics DepartmentCharles Nicole HospitalTunisTunisia
  3. 3.Department of General Surgery ALa Rabta HospitalTunisTunisia
  4. 4.Department of General Surgery BCharles Nicole HospitalTunisTunisia
  5. 5.Department of General Surgery ACharles Nicole HospitalTunisTunisia

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