Telomere Science Library

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The association between leukocyte telomere length and cigarette smoking, dietary and physical variables, and risk of prostate cancer

Aging Cell

Mirabello L, Huang WY, Wong JY, Chatterjee N, Reding D, Crawford ED, De Vivo I, Hayes RB, Savage SA.
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Telomeres consist of nucleotide repeats and a protein complex at chromosome ends that are essential to maintaining chromosomal integrity. Several studies have suggested that subjects with shorter telomeres are at increased risk of bladder and lung cancer. In comparison to normal tissues, telomeres are shorter in high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia and prostate cancer. We examined prostate cancer risk associated with relative telomere length as determined by quantitative PCR on prediagnostic buffy coat DNA isolated from 612 advanced prostate cancer cases and 1049 age-matched, cancer-free controls from the PLCO Cancer Screening Trial. Telomere length was analyzed as both a continuous and a categorical variable with adjustment for potential confounders. Statistically significant inverse correlations between telomere length, age and smoking status were observed in cases and controls. Telomere length was not associated with prostate cancer risk (at the median, OR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.67, 1.08); associations were similar when telomere length was evaluated as a continuous variable or by quartiles. The relationships between telomere length and inflammation-related factors, diet, exercise, body mass index, and other lifestyle variables were explored since many of these have previously been associated with shorter telomeres. Healthy lifestyle factors (i.e., lower BMI, more exercise, tobacco abstinence, diets high in fruit and vegetables) tended to be associated with greater telomere length. This study found no statistically significant association between leukocyte telomere length and advanced prostate cancer risk. However, correlations of telomere length with healthy lifestyles were noted, suggesting the role of these factors in telomere biology maintenance and potentially impacting overall health status.

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