Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is vulnerable to mutations, and the number of copies of mtDNA per cell may increase to compensate for DNA damage. Case-control studies have reported associations between altered mtDNA copy number and risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC); however, this association has not been investigated prospectively. We conducted a nested case-control study (252 cases and 504 controls) of RCC risk in relation to pre-diagnostic leukocyte mtDNA copy number in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. mtDNA copy number was measured in triplicate using a fluorescence-based quantitative PCR assay; samples from 22 cases and 36 controls could not be assayed, leaving 230 cases and 468 controls for analysis. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression. High mtDNA copy number was associated with an increased risk of RCC, both overall (highest quartile versus lowest: OR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.2-3.2; Ptrend = 0.002) and among cases diagnosed ≥6 years after blood collection (OR = 2.6, 95% CI = 1.4-5.0; Ptrend = 0.003). These findings did not differ significantly by sex, body mass index, history of hypertension or smoking status (Pinteraction ≥ 0.3). Results of this study suggest that high pre-diagnostic leukocyte mtDNA copy number, a suspected marker of oxidative DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction, is associated with increased future RCC risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research