Copyright© Ferrata Storti Foundation.
Telomeres are long DNA repeats and a protein complex at chromosome ends that are essential for genome integrity. Telomeres are very short in patients with dyskeratosis congenita due to germline mutations in telomere biology genes. We compared telomere length in patients with Fanconi anemia, Diamond-Blackfan anemia and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome with telomere length in dyskeratosis congenita. Telomere length was measured in six leukocyte subsets by automated multicolor flow fluorescence in situ hybridization, and age-adjusted using Z-scores (-2.326 = 1(st) percentile) were created. We examined individual data, and used canonical variate analysis for group comparisons and outlier detection. Most dyskeratosis congenita telomere lengths were below the 1(st) percentile, while only 2 Fanconi anemia and one each Diamond-Blackfan anemia and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome were that low. However, Fanconi anemia, Diamond-Blackfan anemia and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome clustered in the bottom half of the normal range. Canonical variate analysis separated dyskeratosis congenita widely from the other three syndromes by the first canonical variable (89.7% of the variance); the second variable (10.0%) separated Diamond-Blackfan anemia, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, and Fanconi anemia from each other. Overall, unlike in dyskeratosis congenita, telomere lengths in patients with non-dyskeratosis congenita inherited bone marrow failure syndromes were usually in the normal range, albeit shorter than in unaffected individuals. Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: 00027274.