Purpose: Telomere length plays an important role in the maintenance of chromosomal stability and in tumorigenesis. We hypothesized that telomere length in peripheral WBC DNA obtained from healthy individuals would be a predictor of future risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Experimental Design: Using a new assay to measure relative telomere length, monochrome multiplex quantitative PCR, which strongly correlates with telomere length measured by Southern blot (Spearman r = 0.91, P < 0.0001) and has high precision (co-efficient of variation = 7%), we compared telomere length in peripheral WBC DNA in 107 incident male non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases and 107 matched controls within the prospective Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study cohort. Results: Median (10th, 90th percentile) telomere length was 1.10 (0.79, 1.43) in cases and 1.02 (0.78, 1.26) in controls (P = 0.0017, Wilcoxon sign test). There was a strong dose-response relationship between quartiles of telomere length and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma overall [odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) by quartile: 1.0; 1.1 (0.4-2.7); 1.8 (0.7-4.9); and 3.6 (1.4-8.9); P trend = 0.003], and this association was similar across the most common non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes present in this study. Conclusion: These results suggest that longer telomere length may be a potential predictor for future risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research