Bladder Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Can Leukocyte Telomere Length Predict Bladder Cancer Risk?

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Friday, October 30, 2020

For patients with bladder cancer, leukocyte telomere length may not be a predictive factor of etiology in European Americans, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. These findings contrast to the published literature, which indicated short leukocyte telomere length might be a risk factor for muscle-invasive bladder cancer, explained Jian Gu, PhD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, and colleagues. However, the established literature investigating the role of leukocyte telomere length in the prediction of bladder cancer has been inconsistent.

A total of 4,270 patients with (n = 2,011) and without (n = 2,259) bladder cancer were recruited for the study. All patients were subjected to real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction to assess leukocyte telomere length. In addition, the investigators aimed to predict patient leukocyte telomere length using single-nucleotide polymorphisms genetically.

The study findings revealed that in patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer, the leukocyte telomere length was shorter than those who had non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer. In addition, the comparison of telomere repeats copy number to single-gene copy number was 1.19 vs. 1.23, respectively. Moreover, the investigators reported a decreased risk of muscle-invasive bladder cancer in patients with long leukocyte telomerase length.

Furthermore, Mendelian randomization studies for genetic prediction revealed a weak association for the risk of bladder cancer development in genetic risk score analysis (odds ratio = 1.13). Similarly, these findings were also concluded for inverse-variance weighting (odds ratio = 1.14).

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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