Telomere Science Library

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about the Nobel-Prize Winning Science of Telomere Biology

Biological ageing and frailty markers in breast cancer patients.

Authors: Barbara B. Brouwers, Bruna B. Dalmasso, Sigrid S. Hatse, Annouschka A. Laenen, Cindy C. Kenis, Evalien E. Swerts, Patrick P. Neven, Ann A. Smeets, Patrick P. Schöffski, Hans H. Wildiers
Published: 07/09/2015, Aging


Older cancer patients are a highly heterogeneous population in terms of global health and physiological reserves, and it is often difficult to determine the best treatment. Moreover, clinical tools currently used to assess global health require dedicated time and lack a standardized end score. Circulating markers of biological age and/or fitness could complement or partially substitute the existing screening tools. In this study we explored the relationship of potential ageing/frailty biomarkers with age and clinical frailty. On a population of 82 young and 162 older non-metastatic breast cancer patients, we measured mean leukocyte telomere length and plasma levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). We also developed a new tool to summarize clinical frailty, designated Leuven Oncogeriatric Frailty Score (LOFS), by integrating GA results in a single, semi-continuous score. LOFS' median score was 8, on a scale from 0=frail to 10=fit. IL-6 levels were associated with chronological age in both groups and with clinical frailty in older breast cancer patients, whereas telomere length, IGF-1 and MCP-1 only correlated with age. Plasma IL-6 should be further explored as frailty biomarker in cancer patients.