Shortened telomere length is associated with increased risk of cancer: a meta-analysis.
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Telomeres play a key role in the maintenance of chromosome integrity and stability, and telomere shortening is involved in initiation and progression of malignancies. A series of epidemiological studies have examined the association between shortened telomeres and risk of cancers, but the findings remain conflicting.A dataset composed of 11,255 cases and 13,101 controls from 21 publications was included in a meta-analysis to evaluate the association between overall cancer risk or cancer-specific risk and the relative telomere length. Heterogeneity among studies and their publication bias were further assessed by the χ(2)-based Q statistic test and Egger's test, respectively.The results showed that shorter telomeres were significantly associated with cancer risk (OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.14-1.60), compared with longer telomeres. In the stratified analysis by tumor type, the association remained significant in subgroups of bladder cancer (OR = 1.84, 95% CI = 1.38-2.44), lung cancer (OR = 2.39, 95% CI = 1.18-4.88), smoking-related cancers (OR = 2.25, 95% CI = 1.83-2.78), cancers in the digestive system (OR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.53-1.87) and the urogenital system (OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.12-2.67). Furthermore, the results also indicated that the association between the relative telomere length and overall cancer risk was statistically significant in studies of Caucasian subjects, Asian subjects, retrospective designs, hospital-based controls and smaller sample sizes. Funnel plot and Egger's test suggested that there was no publication bias in the current meta-analysis (P = 0.532).The results of this meta-analysis suggest that the presence of shortened telomeres may be a marker for susceptibility to human cancer, but single larger, well-design prospective studies are warranted to confirm these findings.
Genetic Predisposition to Disease
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1371/journal.pone.0020466
Publication InfoMa, Hongxia; Zhou, Ziyuan; Wei, Sheng; Liu, Zhensheng; Pooley, Karen A; Dunning, Alison M; ... Wei, Qingyi (2011). Shortened telomere length is associated with increased risk of cancer: a meta-analysis. PloS one, 6(6). pp. e20466. 10.1371/journal.pone.0020466. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18013.
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Assistant Professor of Medicine
Professor in Population Health Sciences
Qingyi Wei, MD, PhD, Professor in the Department of Medicine, is Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Co-leader of CCPS and Co-leader of Epidemiology and Population Genomics (Focus Area 1). He is a professor of Medicine and an internationally recognized epidemiologist focused on the molecular and genetic epidemiology of head and neck cancers, lung cancer, and melanoma. His research focuses on biomarkers and genetic determinants for the DNA repair deficient phenotype and
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