Telomere shortening occurs as an early event in pancreatic tumorigenesis, and genetic variants at the telomerase reverse transcriptase gene region have been associated with pancreatic cancer risk.
However, it is unknown whether prediagnostic leucocyte telomere length is associated with subsequent risk of pancreatic cancer.
Dr Ying Bao and colleagues from Massachusetts, USA measured prediagnostic leucocyte telomere length in 386 pancreatic cancer cases, and 896 matched controls from 5 prospective US cohorts.
Matching factors included year of birth, cohort, smoking status, fasting status and month/year of blood collection.
|Shorter prediagnostic leucocyte telomere length was associated with higher risk of pancreatic cancer|
The researchers additionally examined single-nucleotide polymorphisms at the telomerase reverse transcriptase region in relation to pancreatic cancer risk, and leucocyte telomere length.
Shorter prediagnostic leucocyte telomere length was associated with higher risk of pancreatic cancer.
The research team found that results remained unchanged after adjustment for diabetes, body mass index and physical activity.
The team noted that 3 single-nucleotide polymorphisms at telomerase reverse transcriptase were associated with pancreatic cancer risk, including rs401681, rs2736100, and rs2736098.
The researchers found that minor allele for rs401681 was associated with shorter telomere length.
Dr Bao's team concludes, "Prediagnostic leucocyte telomere length and genetic variants at the telomerase reverse transcriptase gene region were associated with risk of pancreatic cancer."