Telomere length variation: A potential new telomere biomarker for lung cancer risk

Bing Sun, Ying Wang, Krishna Kota, Yaru Shi, Salaam Motlak, Kepher Makambi, Christopher A. Loffredo, Peter G. Shields, Qin Yang, Curtis C. Harris, Yun Ling Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives: In this report the associations between telomere length variation (TLV), mean telomere length in blood lymphocytes and lung cancer risk were examined. Materials and methods: The study design is case-control. Cases (N = 191) were patients newly diagnosed with histologically confirmed non-small cell lung cancer. Controls (N = 207) were healthy individuals recruited from the same counties as cases and matched to cases on age and gender. Telomere fluorescent in situ hybridization was used to measure telomere features using short-term cultured blood lymphocytes. Logistic regression was used to estimate the strength of association between telomere features and lung cancer risk. Results: Telomere length variation across all chromosomal ends was significantly associated with lung cancer risk; adjusted odds ratios 4.67 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.46-14.9] and 0.46 (95% CI: 0.25-0.84) for younger (age ≤ 60) and older (age > 60) individuals, respectively. TLV and mean telomere length jointly affected lung cancer risk: when comparing individuals with short telomere length and high TLV to those with long telomere length and low TLV, adjusted odd ratios were 8.21 (95% CI: 1.71-39.5) and 0.33 (95% CI: 0.15-0.72) for younger and older individuals, respectively. Conclusions: TLV in blood lymphocytes is significantly associated with lung cancer risk and the associations were modulated by age. TLV in combination with mean telomere length might be useful in identifying high risk population for lung cancer computerized tomography screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-303
Number of pages7
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Blood-based biomarker
  • Lung cancer
  • Risk prediction
  • Telomere dysfunction
  • Telomere length
  • Telomere length variation


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