Leukocyte telomere length in relation to pancreatic cancer risk: a prospective study.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Several studies have examined leukocyte telomere length (LTL) as a possible predictor for cancer at various organ sites. The hypothesis originally motivating many of these studies was that shorter telomeres would be associated with an increase in cancer risk, the results of epidemiologic studies have been inconsistent, however, and suggested positive, negative, or null associations. Two studies have addressed the association of LTL in relation to pancreatic cancer risk and the results are contrasting. Methods: we measured LTL in a prospective study of 331 pancreatic cancer cases and 331 controls in the context of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Results: We observed that the mean LTL was higher in cases (0.59±0.20) than in controls (0.57±0.17), although this difference was not statistically significant (p=0.07), and a basic logistic regression model showed no association of LTL with pancreas cancer risk. When adjusting for levels of HbA1c and C-Peptide, however, there was a weakly positive association between longer LTL and pancreatic cancer risk , OR=1.13 (1.01-1.27). Additional analyses by cubic spline regression suggested a possible non-linear relationship between RTL and pancreatic cancer risk (P=0.022), with a statistically non-significant increase in risk at very low LTL, as well as a significant increase at high LTL. Conclusion: Taken together, the results from our study do not support LTL as a uniform and strong predictor of pancreatic cancer. Impact: The results of this manuscript can provide insights into telomere dynamics and highlight the complex relationship between LTL and pancreatic cancer risk.


  • Daniele Campa
  • Björn Mergarten
  • Immaculata De Vivo
  • Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault
  • Antoine Racine
  • Gianluca Severi
  • Alexandra Nieters
  • Verena A Katzke
  • Antonia Trichopoulou
  • Nikos Yiannakouris
  • Dimitrios Trichopoulos
  • Heiner Boeing
  • J Ramon Quiros
  • Eric J Duell
  • Esther Molina-Montes
  • Jose-Maria Huerta
  • Eva Ardanaz
  • Miren Dorronsoro
  • Kay-Tee Khaw
  • Nick Wareham
  • Ruth C Travis
  • Domenico Palli
  • Valeria Pala
  • Rosario Tumino
  • Alessio Naccarati
  • Salvatore Panico
  • Paolo Vineis
  • Elio Riboli
  • Afshan Siddiq
  • H B Bueno-de-Mesquita
  • Petra H M Peeters
  • Malin Sund
  • Weimin Ye
  • Eiliv Lund
  • Mie Jareid
  • Elisabete Weiderpass
  • Talita Duarte-Salles
  • So Y Kong
  • Magdalena Stepien
  • Federico Canzian
  • Rudolf Kaaks
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2447-2454
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch