Navigation Links
Shorter Telomere Length Again Linked to Cancer

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- People who have white blood cells with shorter telomeres may be at a higher risk of developing cancer, especially aggressive cancers that are more likely to kill, new research suggests.

Telomeres are the "shoelace ends" that cap and protect your chromosomes and naturally get shorter as you age.

Right now, the findings aren't likely to have any clinical usefulness, said Dr. Stefan Kiechl, senior author of a paper appearing in the July 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. But in the future, he added, "telomere length may well become a component of risk scores for cancer manifestation and, eventually, cancer prognosis."

The main significance of the new research is in understanding the biology of cancer, according to Dr. Eliot Rosen, an oncology professor at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.

"If the study is confirmed, it's a very, very important finding, but there isn't enough information [here] to be certain of this," he said. "It's very interesting and potentially important, but I wouldn't make too much of it till it's confirmed."

Previous studies have linked cancer and short telomeres via an enzyme called telomerase, which builds telomeres, Rosen explained.

In the natural life cycle, cells stop dividing when telomeres become too short. Cancer cells are able to override this by expressing more of the enzyme telomerase.

"Normal adult cells in the body do not express a telomerase, so for a cell to become immortal and continue to divide, the cell has to express telomerase," Rosen explained.

"What's believed to be the major function of a telomere is to maintain the stability of chromosomes, to prevent the chromosomes from degrading or rearranging or becoming altered in one way or another," he continued. "A reduced telomere length would be predicted to lead to an increased risk of cancer."

This is the first prospective study, meaning one that follows individuals over time, to look at this question.

The authors, from England, Austria and Italy, measured telomere length in leukocytes (white blood cells) in 787 individuals who did not have cancer, before following the individuals for 10 years, until 2005, in what is known as the Bruneck Study out of South Tyrol, Italy.

Individuals who had shorter telomere length at the start of the study were more likely to develop cancer, even after adjusting for more conventional cancer risk factors, including age.

Those with the shortest telomere length had more than triple the risk of developing cancer, and those in the middle group had twice the risk compared to those with the longest telomere length.

Those in the short telomere group also had a higher risk of dying from their malignancy than those with longer telomeres.

This may be because shorter telomere length was also associated with more aggressive cancers, such as stomach, lung and ovarian.

Still, there may be a way to keep your telomeres longer.

"Telomere shortening is accelerated by inflammation and oxidative stress as induced by unhealthy lifestyles like smoking," said Kiechl, a neurology professor at Innsbruck Medical University in Austria. "There are extensive research efforts at the moment to identify conditions (like lifestyle features) that promote or counteract telomere shortening, and this knowledge should be important for future primary prevention of cancer."

More information

The University of Utah has more on telomeres.

SOURCES: Stefan Kiechl, M.D., professor of neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria; Eliot Rosen, M.D., Ph.D., professor of oncology, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, D.C.; July 7, 2010 Journal of the American Medical Association

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Shorter Hospital Stays May Hinder Heart Failure Patients
2. CT and MRI scans associated with shorter hospital stays and decreased costs
3. For Some Breast Cancer Patients, Shorter Radiation Works Well
4. Heart attack victims who have ECGs in the field experience shorter time-to-treatment
5. Antibody therapy lengthens survival of metastatic melanoma patients in large clinical trial
6. Texas Childrens Cancer Center first in Texas to magnetically lengthen 9-year-olds leg as she grows
7. Cosmetic Peptides that Significantly Reduce Length and Depth of Wrinkles: Janet Sartin Introduces Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum for All Skin Types
8. Unequal leg length tied to osteoarthritis, says Queens professor
9. Coverage of inexpensive drugs may increase length and quality of life after heart attack
10. The Quantum Scale Helps in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity
11. Exercise May Guard Girls Against Dementia in Senior Years
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Shorter Telomere Length Again Linked to Cancer
(Date:11/25/2015)... Omaha, Neb. (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... nurse staffing companies, has been recognized once again for its stellar workplace culture ... Places to Work.” , Medical Solutions’ Cincinnati office was named a ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... For the first time, Vitalalert is ... One Beat ” campaign. The partnership between the two groups began in 2014 with ... International’s cause. , MAP International was founded in 1954 and is an international Christian-based ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... and athletic programs, launches new Wimbledon Athletics Facebook page to educate ... athletes for unsuspected cardiac abnormalities. About 2,000 people under the age of 25 ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... , ... Beddit® has launched a new Android app for use ... a more intuitive SleepScore™ that rates sleep quality on a 100-point scale and makes ... by a proprietary algorithm. Beddit analyzes the data to provide an easy to understand ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Castlewood Treatment ... struggling with eating disorders as a result of the $20,000 raised at the ... at Fox Run Golf Club in Eureka, will help individuals who otherwise might ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- The total global healthcare industry is expected to grow at ... America has the highest projected growth at 12.7%, ... ), is second with growth projected at 11.5%. ... expenditure. In 2013-2014, total government funded healthcare was nearly 68%. ... 41.2% in 2013-2014. In real terms, out of pocket expenditure ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... WOODBURY, N.Y. , Nov. 25, 2015  Linden ... access and optimizing treatment outcomes for patients suffering from ... its request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining ... between the two companies. --> ... aggressively pursuing all of its legal options. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... USA , Inc., a leader in ... accuracy of its blood glucose meter systems. Last week ... Cardiovascular Disease in Los Angeles , ... 01 meter and the Assure ® Prism multi-user ... measure glucose levels in blood is essential for people ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: