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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Editorial Board Member: Gillery, Philippe / Kazmierczak, Steven / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Schlattmann, Peter / Whitfield, John B.

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Mean leukocyte telomere length and risk of incident colorectal carcinoma in women: a prospective, nested case-control study

I-Min Lee1 / Jennifer Lin1 / Amy J. Castonguay1 / Nathaniel S. Barton1 / Julie E. Buring1 / Robert Y.L. Zee1

1Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Corresponding author: Dr. Robert Y.L. Zee, Laboratory of Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology, Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 900 Commonwealth Avenue East, Boston, MA 02215, USA Phone: +1 (617) 732 8175, Fax: +1 (617) 783 9212,

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 48, Issue 2, Pages 259–262, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2010.049, December 2009

Publication History

Published Online:


Background: To date, no prospective epidemiological data are available, particularly in women, on mean leukocyte telomere length as a risk predictor.

Methods: Using leukocyte DNA samples collected at baseline in a prospective cohort of over 28,000 initially healthy women, we examined the relationship between mean leukocyte telomere repeat copy number to single gene copy number (TSR) in 134 incident cases of colorectal carcinoma (CRC), and 357 matched controls; all were Caucasian.

Results: The observed loge-transformed TSRs were similar between cases and controls (p=0.79). Using an adjusted analysis, we found no evidence for an association of the loge-TSRs with CRC risk [adjusted odds ratio (OR)=0.943, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.647–1.376, p=0.762]. Stratified analysis by median follow-up time, or postmenopausal status also showed similar null findings.

Conclusions: In concordance with our previous findings in Caucasian men, the present study in Caucasian women found no evidence for an association of mean leukocyte telomere length with risk of incident CRC, further suggesting that leukocyte telomere length may not be a useful indicator for risk assessment.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2010;48:259–62.

Keywords: colorectal carcinoma; mean leukocyte telomere length; risk predictor; women

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