Genetic variation in telomere maintenance genes, telomere length, and lung cancer susceptibility

H. Dean Hosgood, Richard Cawthon, Xingzhou He, Stephen Chanock, Qing Lan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Telomeres are responsible for the protection of the chromosome ends and shortened telomere length has been associated with risk of multiple cancers. Genetic variation in telomere-related genes may alter cancer risk associated with telomere length. Using lung cancer cases (n = 120) and population-based controls (n = 110) from Xuanwei, China, we analyzed telomere length separately and in conjunction with single nucleotide polymorphisms in the telomere maintenance genes POT1, TERT, and TERF2, which we have previously reported were associated with risk of lung cancer in this study. POT1 rs10244817, TERT rs2075786, and TERF2 rs251796 were significantly associated with lung cancer (ptrend ≤ 0.05). The shortest tertile of telomere length was not significantly associated with risk of lung cancer (OR = 1.58; 95% CI = 0.79-3.18) when compared to the longest tertile of telomere length. When stratified by genotype, there was a suggestion of a dose-response relationship between tertiles of telomere length and risk of lung cancer among the POT1 rs10244817 common variant carriers (OR (95% CI) = 1.33 (0.47-3.75), 3.30 (1.14-9.56), respectively) but not among variant genotype carriers (pinteraction = 0.05). Our findings provide evidence that telomere length and genetic variation in telomere maintenance genes may be associated with risk of lung cancer susceptibility and warrant replication in larger studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-161
Number of pages5
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Lung cancer
  • POT1
  • Risk
  • TERF2
  • TERT
  • Telomore length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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