© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) is the catalytic subunit of the human telomerase and plays a key role in telomere restitution and gene regulation. Evidence suggests that hTERT is linked with the risk and progression of several malignancies, but there are no comprehensive data in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In this case-control study, we assessed seven polymorphic hTERT gene variants (MNS16A, rs2736100, rs2736098, rs7726159, rs2853677, rs13172201, and rs10069690), hTERT serum levels, and the telomere length of 663 individuals, including 243 with clear cell RCC and 420 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. The SL and SS genotypes of MNS16A were associated with a decreased risk for RCC on the multivariable logistic regression analysis (SL-OR 0.72, SS-OR 0.37, P < 0.001). The GG genotype of rs2736098 was associated with a decreased risk for RCC compared with AA (OR 0.18, P < 0.001). Both telomere length and hTERT serum levels increased with every G allele in rs2736098 (P = 0.008). Pretherapeutic hTERT serum levels were higher in patients with advanced tumor stages (P = 0.037) and distant metastases (P = 0.006). Rs2736100, rs7726159, rs2853677, rs13172201, and rs10069690 were not linked with RCC risk, and none of the polymorphisms was associated with RCC pathology. In conclusion, the polymorphic number of tandem repeats in hTERT (MNS16A) and rs2736098 may be linked with the risk for RCC. Rs2736098 may have an important role in telomere length restitution and serum hTERT levels may represent a novel biomarker for RCC. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.