February 06, 2014
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Peripheral blood leukocyte telomere length linked to glioma risk

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Shorter or longer telomere length of peripheral blood leukocytes was associated with increased risk for glioma, according to study results.

“Compelling epidemiological evidence indicates that alterations of telomere length are associated with risks of many malignancies in a tumor-specific manner, such as lung cancer, breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” the researchers wrote. “However, the association between leukocyte telomere length and glioma risk has not been investigated.”

The analysis included 467 patients with glioma and 467 age- and sex-matched controls.

Researchers found patients with glioma had longer median relative telomere lengths than controls (0.555 vs. 0.444; P˃.04).

Age was negatively correlated with telomere length among patients with glioma (ρ = −0.430; P˂.001) and controls (ρ = −0.388;P˂.001).

Multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, smoking status and family cancer history indicated a U-shaped association between telomere length and glioma risk (P for nonlinearity ˂.001).

Examining telomere length by tertiles, researchers calculated an OR of 2.16 (95% CI, 1.52-3.09) for patients in the first tertile and an OR of 3.51 (95% CI, 2.45-5.00) for patients in the third tertile compared with patients in the second tertile.

Additional analyses indicated major host characteristics did not impact the association between relative telomere length and glioma risk.

“Our study demonstrates for the first time that either shorter or longer relative telomere length in peripheral blood leukocytes is associated with increased glioma risk, which warrants further investigation,” the researchers wrote.

Disclosure: See the study for a full list of the researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.