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J Breast Cancer. 2018 Dec;21(4):391-398. English. Original Article.
Wang Z , Zhang Z , Guo Y , Shui H , Liu G , Jin T , Wang H .
Oncology Department of Integrative Medicine, Luoyang Central Hospital Affiliated to Zhengzhou University, Luoyang, China.
Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China, Ministry of Education, School of Life Sciences, Northwest University, Xi'an, China.


The aim of this study was to investigate the association of telomere length with breast cancer risk. We simultaneously explored the association between telomerase reverse transcriptase gene polymorphisms and telomere length.


We used real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction to measure relative telomere length (RTL) in genomic DNA extracted from peripheral blood from 183 breast cancer cases and 191 healthy controls. Genotyping was performed using the Sequenom MassARRAY platform.


Our results show that breast cancer patients had significantly shorter RTLs than control subjects (p < 0.05). When the RTLs were categorized into tertiles, we found that the lowest RTL was significantly associated with increased breast cancer risk compared with the highest RTL (odds ratio [OR], 2.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40–3.90; p=0.001). Subgroup analyses indicated that risk of breast cancer was also significantly increased in the lowest RTL compared with the highest RTL in age >40 years (OR, 2.41; 95% CI, 1.31–4.43; p=0.005), body mass index ≤24 kg/m² (OR, 2.81; 95% CI, 1.55–5.10; p=0.001), and postmenopausal women (OR, 3.94; 95% CI, 1.63–9.51; p=0.002), respectively. In addition, individuals with the AA genotype of rs2853677 have longer telomeres than those of breast cancer patients with the AG genotype (p=0.011).


Our results suggest that shorter RTL was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. An association was found between the AA genotype of rs2853677 and longer RTLs in the case group. Functional studies are warranted to validate this association and further investigate our findings.

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