Several age-related traits are associated with shorter telomeres, the structures that cap the end of linear chromosomes. A common polymorphism near the telomere maintenance gene TERT has been associated with several cancers, but relationships with other aging traits such as physical capability have not been reported. As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, men and women aged between 44 and 90 years from nine UK cohorts were genotyped for the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs401681. We then investigated relationships between the SNP and 30 age-related phenotypes, including cognitive and physical capability, blood lipid levels and lung function, pooling within-study genotypic effects in meta-analyses. No significant associations were found between the SNP and any of the cognitive performance tests (e.g. pooled beta per T allele for word recall z-score = 0.02, 95% CI: −0.01 to 0.04, P-value = 0.12, n = 18 737), physical performance tests (e.g. pooled beta for grip strength = −0.02, 95% CI: −0.045 to 0.006, P-value = 0.14, n = 11 711), blood pressure, lung function or blood test measures. Similarly, no differences in observations were found when considering follow-up measures of cognitive or physical performance after adjusting for its measure at an earlier assessment. The lack of associations between SNP rs401681 and a wide range of age-related phenotypes investigated in this large multicohort study suggests that while this SNP may be associated with cancer, it is not an important contributor to other markers of aging.
aging; cognition; middle-aged; physical; telomere
The glucokinase regulatory protein encoded by GCKR plays an important role in glucose metabolism and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1260326 (P446L) in the gene has been associated with several age-related biomarkers, including triglycerides, glucose, insulin and apolipoproteins. However, associations between SNPs in the gene and other ageing phenotypes such as cognitive and physical capability have not been reported.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, men and women from five UK cohorts aged between 44 and 90+ years were genotyped for rs1260326. Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study genotypic associations between the SNP and several age-related phenotypes, including body mass index (BMI), blood lipid levels, lung function, and cognitive and physical capability.
We confirm the associations between the minor allele of the SNP and higher triglycerides and lower glucose levels. We also observed a triglyceride-independent association between the minor allele and lower BMI (pooled beta on z-score = −0.04, p-value = 0.0001, n = 16,251). Furthermore, there was some evidence for gene-environment interactions, including physical activity attenuating the effects on triglycerides. However, no associations were observed with measures of cognitive and physical capability.
Findings from middle-aged to older adults confirm associations between rs1260326 GCKR and triglycerides and glucose, suggest possible gene-environment interactions, but do not provide evidence that its relevance extends to cognitive and physical capability.
Good bone and joint health is essential for the physical tasks of daily living and poorer indicators of physical capability in older adults have been associated with increased mortality rates. Genetic variants of indicators of bone and joint health may be associated with measures of physical capability.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) programme, men and women aged between 52 and 90 + years from six UK cohorts were genotyped for a polymorphism associated with serum calcium (rs1801725, CASR), two polymorphisms associated with bone mineral density (BMD) (rs2941740, ESR1 and rs9594759, RANKL) and one associated with osteoarthritis risk rs3815148 (COG5). Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study effects of the associations between each of the polymorphisms and measures of physical capability: grip strength, timed walk or get up and go, chair rises and standing balance.
Few important associations were observed among the several tests. We found that carriers of the serum calcium-raising allele had poorer grip strength compared with non-carriers (pooled p = 0.05, n = 11,239) after adjusting for age and sex. Inconsistent results were observed for the two variants associated with BMD and we found no evidence for an association between rs3815148 (COG5) and any of the physical capability measures.
Our findings suggest elevated serum calcium levels may lead to lower grip strength, though this requires further replication. Our results do not provide evidence for a substantial influence of these variants in ESR1, RANKL and COG5 on physical capability in older adults.
► We examined associations between bone-related genotypes and physical capability. ► We conducted a meta-analysis on 12,836 middle-age adults. ► We found CASR may be associated with grip strength. ► No substantial support for specific bone mineral density variants and physical capability.
BMD, bone mineral density; OA, osteoarthritis; BMI, body mass index; SNP, single nucleotide polymorphism; CaPS, Caerphilly Prospective Study; ELSA, English Longitudinal Study of Ageing; HAS, Hertfordshire Ageing Study; HCS, Hertfordshire Cohort Study; LBC1921, The Lothian Birth Cohort 1921; NSHD, National Survey of Health and Development; HWE, Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium; WHR, waist–hip ratio; GWAS, genome-wide association studies; Aging; Grip strength; Calcium; Bone mineral density; Osteoarthritis
Telomere-related genes play an important role in maintaining the integrity of the telomeric structure that protects chromosome ends, and telomere dysfunction may lead to tumorigenesis. We evaluated the associations between 39 SNPs, including 38 tag-SNPs in telomere-related genes (TERT, TRF1, TRF2, TNKS2, and POT1) and one SNP (rs401681) in the TERT-CLPTM1L locus which has been identified as a susceptibility locus to skin cancer in the previous GWAS, and the risk of skin cancer in a case-control study of Caucasians nested within the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) among 218 melanoma cases, 285 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cases, 300 basal cell carcinoma (BCC) cases, and 870 controls. Of the 39 SNPs evaluated, ten showed a nominal significant association with the risk of at least one type of skin cancer. After correction for multiple testing within each gene, two SNPs in the TERT gene (rs2853676 and rs2242652) and one SNP in the TRF1 gene (rs2981096) showed significant associations with the risk of melanoma. Also, the SNP rs401681 in the TERT-CLPTM1L locus was replicated for the association with melanoma risk. The additive odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval (95% CI)) of these four SNPs (rs2853676[T], rs2242652[A], rs2981096[G], and rs401681[C]) for the risk of melanoma was 1.43 (1.14–1.81), 1.50 (1.14–1.98), 1.87 (1.19–2.91), and 0.73 (0.59–0.91), respectively. Moreover, we found that the rs401681[C] was associated with shorter relative telomere length (p for trend, 0.05). We did not observe significant associations for SCC or BCC risk. Our study provides evidence for the contribution of genetic variants in the telomere-maintaining genes to melanoma susceptibility.
SNP; Telomere-maintaining gene; Skin cancer
Telomeres cap chromosome ends and are critical for genomic stability. Many telomere-associated proteins are important for telomere length maintenance. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes encoding telomere-associated proteins (RTEL1 and TERT-CLPTM1) as markers of cancer risk. We conducted an association study of telomere length and 743 SNPs in 43 telomere biology genes. Telomere length in peripheral blood DNA was determined by Q-PCR in 3,646 participants from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial and Nurses' Health Study. We investigated associations by SNP, gene, and pathway (functional group). We found no associations between telomere length and SNPs in TERT-CLPTM1L or RTEL1. Telomere length was not significantly associated with specific functional groups. Thirteen SNPs from four genes (MEN1, MRE11A, RECQL5, and TNKS) were significantly associated with telomere length. The strongest findings were in MEN1 (Gene-based P=0.006), menin, which associates with the telomerase promoter and may negatively regulate telomerase. This large association study did not find strong associations with telomere length. The combination of limited diversity and evolutionary conservation suggest that these genes may be under selective pressure. More work is needed to explore the role of genetic variants in telomere length regulation.
Telomere length; single-nucleotide polymorphism; SNP; telomere biology; epidemiology
A recent study reported genetic variants in the TERT-CLPTM1L locus to be associated with mean telomere length, and with risk of multiple cancers.
We evaluated the association between SNP rs401681 [c>t] and mean telomere length, using quantitative Real Time PCR, in blood-extracted DNA collected from 11,314 cancer-free participants from the Sisters in Breast Screening (SIBS) study, the MAPLES melanoma family study, and the SEARCH Breast, Colorectal, Melanoma studies. We also examined the relationship between rs401618 genotype and susceptibility to breast cancer (6800 cases, 6608 controls), colorectal cancer (2259 cases, 2181 controls) and melanoma (787 cases, 999 controls).
The ‘per t allele’ change in mean telomere length (ΔCt), adjusted for age, study plate, gender and family, was 0.001 (95%CI -0.01 – 0.02), p-trend=0.61. The ‘per t allele’ Odds Ratio (OR) for each cancer was: breast cancer OR=1.01 (95% Confidence Intervals 0.96-1.06), p-trend=0.64; colorectal cancer OR=1.02 (95%CI 0.94-1.11), p-trend=0.66; and melanoma OR=0.99 (95%CI 0.84-1.15), p-trend=0.87.
We found no evidence that this SNP is associated with mean telomere length, or with risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer or melanoma.
Our results indicate that observed associations between rs401681 and several cancer types may be weaker than previously described. The lack of an association in our study between this SNP and mean telomere suggests that any association with cancer risk at this locus is not mediated through TERT.
Low muscle mass and function have been associated with poorer indicators of physical capability in older people, which are in-turn associated with increased mortality rates. The growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor (GH/IGF) axis is involved in muscle function and genetic variants in genes in the axis may influence measures of physical capability.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) programme, men and women from seven UK cohorts aged between 52 and 90 years old were genotyped for six polymorphisms: rs35767 (IGF1), rs7127900 (IGF2), rs2854744 (IGFBP3), rs2943641 (IRS1), rs2665802 (GH1) and the exon-3 deletion of GHR. The polymorphisms have previously been robustly associated with age-related traits or are potentially functional. Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study genotypic effects of the associations between the polymorphisms and four measures of physical capability: grip strength, timed walk or get up and go, chair rises and standing balance.
Few important associations were observed among the several tests. We found evidence that rs2665802 in GH1 was associated with inability to balance for 5 s (pooled odds ratio per minor allele = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.82–0.98, p-value = 0.01, n = 10,748), after adjusting for age and sex. We found no evidence for other associations between the polymorphisms and physical capability traits.
Our findings do not provide evidence for a substantial influence of these common polymorphisms in the GH/IGF axis on objectively measured physical capability levels in older adults.
The ACTN3 R577X (rs1815739) genotype has been associated with athletic status and muscle phenotypes, though not consistently. Our objective was to conduct a meta-analysis of the published literature on athletic status and investigate its associations with physical capability in several new population-based studies. Relevant data were extracted from studies in the literature, comparing genotype frequencies between controls and sprint/power and endurance athletes. For lifecourse physical capability, data were used from two studies of adolescents and seven studies in the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, involving individuals aged between 53 and 90+ years. We found evidence from the published literature to support the hypothesis that in Europeans the RR genotype is more common among sprint/power athletes compared with their controls. There is currently no evidence that the X allele is advantageous to endurance athleticism. We found no association between R577X and grip strength (p-value=0.09, n=7672 in males; p-value=0.90, n=7839 in females), standing balance, timed get up and go or chair rises in our studies of physical capability. The ACTN3 R577X genotype is associated with sprint/power athletic status in Europeans, but does not appear to be associated with objective measures of physical capability in the general population.
ACTN3; Actinin-3; athlete; aging; SNP; grip strength
The ACTN3 R577X (rs1815739) genotype has been associated with
athletic status and muscle phenotypes, although not consistently. Our objective
was to conduct a meta-analysis of the published literature on athletic status
and investigate its associations with physical capability in several new
population-based studies. Relevant data were extracted from studies in the
literature, comparing genotype frequencies between controls and sprint/power and
endurance athletes. For life course physical capability, data were used from two
studies of adolescents and seven studies in the Healthy Ageing across the Life
Course (HALCyon) collaborative research program, involving individuals aged
between 53 and 90+ years. We found evidence from the published literature
to support the hypothesis that in Europeans the RR genotype is more common among
sprint/power athletes compared with their controls. There is currently no
evidence that the X allele is advantageous to endurance athleticism. We found no
association between R577X and grip strength (P = 0.09,
n = 7,672 in males; P =
0.90, n = 7,839 in females), standing balance, timed get
up and go, or chair rises in our studies of physical capability. The
ACTN3 R577X genotype is associated with sprint/power
athletic status in Europeans, but does not appear to be associated with
objective measures of physical capability in the general population. Hum Mutat
32:1–11, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
ACTN3; Actinin-3; athlete; aging; SNP; grip strength
Some common genetic variants of TERT-CLPTM1L gene, which encode key protein subunits of telomerase, have been suggested to play a crucial role in tumorigenesis. The TERT-CLPTM1L polymorphism rs401681 was of special interest for cancers risk but with inconclusive results.
We performed a comprehensive meta-analysis of 29 publications with a total of 91263 cases and 735952 controls. We assessed the strength of the association between rs401681 and overall cancers risk and performed subgroup analyses by cancer type, ethnicity, source of control, sample size and expected power. Rs401681 C allele was found to be associated with marginally increased cancers risk, with per allele OR of 1.04 (95%CI = 1.00–1.08, Pheterogeneity<0.001) and an expected power of 1.000. Following further stratified analyses, the increased cancers risk were discovered in subgroups of lung, bladder, prostate, basal cell carcinomas and Asians, while a declined risk of pancreatic cancer and melanoma were detected.
These findings suggested that rs401681 C allele was a low-penetrance risk allele for the development of cancers of lung, bladder, prostate and basal cell carcinoma, but a potential protective allele for melanoma and pancreatic cancer.
As one of the most common cancers worldwide, breast cancer places an extraordinary burden on the populations of African ancestry. Common SNPs in the TERT-CLPTM1L locus have been reported to be associated with several types of cancer, including breast cancer. We sought to investigate whether the previously reported common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TERT-CLPTM1L locus could also contribute to the breast cancer risk in women of African ancestry. We genotyped eleven SNPs in 2,892 women of African descent but were unable to detect any significant association between TERT-CLPTM1L SNPs and their predispositions for breast cancer risk. Given the differences in linkage disequilibrium patterns across populations, our findings suggest that larger independent studies from diverse populations are expected to evaluate the importance of the TERT-CLPTM1L locus in breast cancer.
TERT-CLPTM1L; single nucleotide polymorphism; association; breast cancer; African ancestry
Symptoms of anxiety and depression are common in older people, but the relative importance of factors operating in early and later life in influencing risk is unclear, particularly in the case of anxiety.
We used data from five cohorts in the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme : the Aberdeen Birth Cohort 1936, the Caerphilly Prospective Study, the Hertfordshire Ageing Study, the Hertfordshire Cohort Study and the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921. We used logistic regression to examine the relationship between factors from early and later life and risk of anxiety or depression, defined as scores of 8 or more on the subscales of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and meta-analysis to obtain an overall estimate of the effect of each.
Greater neuroticism, poorer cognitive or physical function, greater disability and taking more medications were associated in cross-sectional analyses with an increased overall likelihood of anxiety or depression. Associations between lower social class, either in childhood or currently, history of heart disease, stroke or diabetes and increased risk of anxiety or depression were attenuated and no longer statistically significant after adjustment for potential confounding or mediating variables. There was no association between birth weight and anxiety or depression in later life.
Anxiety and depression in later life are both strongly linked to personality, cognitive and physical function, disability and state of health, measured concurrently. Possible mechanisms that might underlie these associations are discussed.
Anxiety; cohort studies; depression; elderly; life course
Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of TERT-rs2736098 (C > T) and CLPTM1L-rs401681(C > T) at the 5p15.33 locus are significantly associated with cancer risk as reported in genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but there are no reported studies for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). In a case–control study of 1079 SCCHN cases and 1115 cancer-free controls of non-Hispanic whites who were frequency matched by age and sex, we genotyped for these two SNPs and assessed their associations with SCCHN risk. Compared with the CC genotypes of each polymorphism, the associations of a slightly reduced risk of SCCHN with the variant genotypes of CT + TT of both polymorphisms were approaching statistical significance [Odds ratio (OR) = 0.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.76–1.08 for TERT-rs2736098 and OR = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.71–1.04 for CLPTM1L-rs401681, respectively]. When the two SNPs were combined, the variant genotypes of the two SNPs were significantly associated a moderately reduced risk of SCCHN (OR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.67–0.99), and the number of variant genotypes was associated with a significantly reduced risk in a dose–response manner (P = 0.028). Furthermore, the reduced risk was more pronounced in ever smokers, ever drinkers and patients with oropharyngeal cancer. Our results suggested that these two SNPs at the 5p15.33 locus may be associated with a reduced risk of SCCHN, particularly for their combined effect. Although we added additional evidence for the association of the two SNPs with cancer risk as reported in GWAS, additional studies are needed to replicate our findings.
To investigate the associations of body mass index (BMI) and grip strength with objective measures of physical performance (chair rise time, walking speed and balance) including an assessment of sex differences and non-linearity.
Cross-sectional data from eight UK cohort studies (total N = 16 444) participating in the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) research programme, ranging in age from 50 to 90+ years at the time of physical capability assessment, were used. Regression models were fitted within each study and meta-analysis methods used to pool regression coefficients across studies and to assess the extent of heterogeneity between studies.
Higher BMI was associated with poorer performance on chair rise (N = 10 773), walking speed (N = 9 761) and standing balance (N = 13 921) tests. Higher BMI was associated with stronger grip strength in men only. Stronger grip strength was associated with better performance on all tests with a tendency for the associations to be stronger in women than men; for example, walking speed was higher by 0.43 cm/s (0.14, 0.71) more per kg in women than men. Both BMI and grip strength remained independently related with performance after mutual adjustment, but there was no evidence of effect modification. Both BMI and grip strength exhibited non-linear relations with performance; those in the lowest fifth of grip strength and highest fifth of BMI having particularly poor performance. Findings were similar when waist circumference was examined in place of BMI.
Older men and women with weak muscle strength and high BMI have considerably poorer performance than others and associations were observed even in the youngest cohort (age 53). Although causality cannot be inferred from observational cross-sectional studies, our findings suggest the likely benefit of early assessment and interventions to reduce fat mass and improve muscle strength in the prevention of future functional limitations.
The TERT gene is the reverse transcriptase component of telomerase and is essential for the maintenance of telomere DNA length, chromosomal stability and cellular immortality. CLPTM1L gene encodes a protein linked to cisplatin resistance, and it is well conserved and express in various normal or malignant tissues, including lung.
To test this hypothesis, we genotyped for two significant SNPs TERT-rs2736098 and CLPTM1L-rs4016981 in a case-control study with 501 cancer cases and 576 cancer-free controls in Chinese nonsmoking population. Information concerning demographic and risk factors was obtained for each case and control by a trained interviewer. Gene polymorphisms were determined by TaqMan methodology.
We found that the homozygous variant genetic model of TERT gene was associated with a significantly increased risk of lung cancer with adjusted OR of 1.72(95%CI = 1.19–2.51, P = 0.004 for heterogeneity). The joint effect of TERT and CLPTM1L increased risk for lung cancer with adjusted OR is 1.31(95%CI = 1.00–1.74, P = 0.052 for heterogeneity).
Genetic variants in TERT and CLPTM1L may affect the susceptibility of lung cancer, especially adenocarcinoma in Chinese women nonsmokers.
Several investigations have observed positive associations between good nutritional status, as indicated by micronutrients, and cognitive measures; however, these associations may not be causal. Genetic polymorphisms that affect nutritional biomarkers may be useful for providing evidence for associations between micronutrients and cognitive measures. As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) program, men and women aged between 44 and 90 y from 6 UK cohorts were genotyped for polymorphisms associated with circulating concentrations of iron [rs4820268 transmembrane protease, serine 6 (TMPRSS6) and rs1800562 hemochromatosis (HFE)], vitamin B-12 [(rs492602 fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2)], vitamin D ([rs2282679 group-specific component (GC)] and β-carotene ([rs6564851 beta-carotene 15,15'-monooxygenase 1 (BCMO1)]. Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study effects of the associations between these polymorphisms and the following measures of cognitive capability: word recall, phonemic fluency, semantic fluency, and search speed. Among the several statistical tests conducted, we found little evidence for associations. We found the minor allele of rs1800562 was associated with poorer word recall scores [pooled β on Z-score for carriers vs. noncarriers: −0.05 (95% CI: −0.09, −0.004); P = 0.03, n = 14,105] and poorer word recall scores for the vitamin D–raising allele of rs2282679 [pooled β per T allele: −0.03 (95% CI: −0.05, −0.003); P = 0.03, n = 16,527]. However, there was no evidence for other associations. Our findings provide little evidence to support associations between these genotypes and cognitive capability in older adults. Further investigations are required to elucidate whether the previous positive associations from observational studies between circulating measures of these micronutrients and cognitive performance are due to confounding and reverse causality.
Recent studies reported associations of the relative telomere length (RTL) and TERT variants with risk of several cancers, which has not been comprehensively investigated in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).
We detected RTL in peripheral blood lymphocytes and genotyped six selected functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the TERT gene in 888 SCCHN cases and 885 cancer-free controls of non-Hispanic whites.
Overall, we did not observe significant associations between RTL and SCCHN risk (adjusted OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.80–1.17 for below versus above the median; Ptrend = 0.618) nor between the six TERT SNPs and SCCHN risk. We also found no associations between RTL and TERT SNPs.
Our results suggest that RTL and TERT functional polymorphisms may not play a major role in the etiology of SCCHN. Large prospective studies are needed to validate our findings.
Although our results suggest no association among RTL, TERT functional polymorphisms, and SCCHN risk, this study may contribute to future meta-analysis.
genetic polymorphisms; Telomere length; TERT; head and neck cancer; molecular epidemiology
The relationship between telomeres, nevi and melanoma is complex. Shorter telomeres have been found to be associated with many cancers and with number of nevi, a known risk factor for melanoma. However, shorter telomeres have also been found to decrease melanoma risk. We performed a systematic analysis of telomere-related genes and tagSNPs within these genes, in relation to the risk of melanoma, dysplastic nevi, and nevus count combining data from four studies conducted in Italy. In addition, we examined whether telomere length measured in peripheral blood leukocytes is related to the risk of melanoma, dysplastic nevi, number of nevi, or telomere-related SNPs. A total of 796 cases and 770 controls were genotyped for 517 SNPs in 39 telomere-related genes genotyped with a custom-made array. Replication of the top SNPs was conducted in two American populations consisting of 488 subjects from 53 melanoma-prone families and 1,086 cases and 1,024 controls from a case-control study. We estimated odds ratios for associations with SNPs and combined SNP P-values to compute gene region-specific, functional group-specific, and overall P-value using an adaptive rank-truncated product algorithm. In the Mediterranean population, we found suggestive evidence that RECQL4, a gene involved in genome stability, RTEL1, a gene regulating telomere elongation, and TERF2, a gene implicated in the protection of telomeres, were associated with melanoma, the presence of dysplastic nevi and number of nevi, respectively. However, these associations were not found in the American samples, suggesting variable melanoma susceptibility for these genes across populations or chance findings in our discovery sample. Larger studies across different populations are necessary to clarify these associations.
Poorer cognitive ability in youth is a risk factor for later mental health problems but it is largely unknown whether cognitive ability, in youth or in later life, is predictive of mental wellbeing. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether cognitive ability at age 11 years, cognitive ability in later life, or lifetime cognitive change are associated with mental wellbeing in older people.
We used data on 8191 men and women aged 50 to 87 years from four cohorts in the HALCyon collaborative research programme into healthy ageing: the Aberdeen Birth Cohort 1936, the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921, the National Child Development Survey, and the MRC National Survey for Health and Development. We used linear regression to examine associations between cognitive ability at age 11, cognitive ability in later life, and lifetime change in cognitive ability and mean score on the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale and meta-analysis to obtain an overall estimate of the effect of each.
People whose cognitive ability at age 11 was a standard deviation above the mean scored 0.53 points higher on the mental wellbeing scale (95% confidence interval 0.36, 0.71). The equivalent value for cognitive ability in later life was 0.89 points (0.72, 1.07). A standard deviation improvement in cognitive ability in later life relative to childhood ability was associated with 0.66 points (0.39, 0.93) advantage in wellbeing score. These effect sizes equate to around 0.1 of a standard deviation in mental wellbeing score. Adjustment for potential confounding and mediating variables, primarily the personality trait neuroticism, substantially attenuated these associations.
Associations between cognitive ability in childhood or lifetime cognitive change and mental wellbeing in older people are slight and may be confounded by personality trait differences.
Telomeres, consisting of TTAGGG nucleotide repeats and a protein complex at chromosome ends, are critical for maintaining chromosomal stability. Genomic instability, following telomere crisis, may contribute to breast cancer pathogenesis. Many genes critical in telomere biology have limited nucleotide diversity, thus, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in this pathway could contribute to breast cancer risk. In a population-based study of 1995 breast cancer cases and 2296 controls from Poland, 24 SNPs representing common variation in POT1, TEP1, TERF1, TERF2 and TERT were genotyped. We did not identify any significant associations between individual SNPs or haplotypes and breast cancer risk; however, data suggested that three correlated SNPs in TERT (−1381C>T, −244C>T, and Ex2-659G>A) may be associated with reduced risk of breast cancer among individuals with a family history of breast cancer (odds ratios 0.73, 0.66, and 0.57, 95% confidence intervals 0.53–1.00, 0.46–0.95 and 0.39–0.84, respectively). In conclusion, our data do not support substantial overall associations between SNPs in telomere pathway genes and breast cancer risk. Intriguing associations with variants in TERT among women with a family history of breast cancer warrant follow-up in independent studies.
breast cancer; telomere; TERT; TERF2; haplotype; single nucleotide polymorphism
Familial testicular germ cell tumours (TGCTs) and bilateral TGCTs comprise 1–2% and 5% of all TGCTs, respectively, but their genetic basis remains largely unknown.
To investigate the contribution of known testicular cancer risk variants in familial and bilateral TGCTs.
Methods and results
The study genotyped 106 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in four regions (BAK1, DMRT1, KITLG, TERT-CLPTM1L) previously identified from genome-wide association studies of TGCT, including risk single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs210138 (BAK1), rs755383 (DMRT1), rs4635969 (TERT-CLPTM1L) in 97 cases with familial TGCT and 22 affected individuals with sporadic bilateral TGCT as well as 871 controls. Using a generalised estimating equations method that takes into account blood relationships among cases, the associations with familial and bilateral TGCT were analysed. Three previously identified risk SNPs were found to be associated with familial and bilateral TGCT (rs210138: OR 1.80, CI 1.35 to 2.41, p = 7.03×10−5; rs755383: OR 1.67, CI 1.23 to 2.22, p=6.70×10−4; rs4635969: OR 1.59, CI 1.16 to 2.19, p=4.07×10−3). Evidence for a second independent association was found for an SNP in TERT (rs4975605: OR 1.68, CI 1.23 to 2.29, p=1.24×10−3). Another association with an SNP was identified in KITLG (rs2046971: OR 2.33, p=1.28×10−3); this SNP is in high linkage disequilibrium (LD) with reported risk variant rs995030.
This study provides evidence for replication of recent genome-wide association studies results and shows that variants in or near BAK1, DMRT1, TERT-CLPTM1L, and KITLG predispose to familial and bilateral TGCT. These findings imply that familial TGCT and sporadic TGCT share a common genetic basis.
Background: The rs2736100 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is located in the intron 2 of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have consistently supported the strong association between this SNP and risk for multiple cancers. Given the important role of the hTERT gene and this SNP in cancer biology, we hypothesize that rs2736100 may also confer susceptibility to anti-cancer drug sensitivity. In this study we aim to investigate the correlation between the rs2736100 genotype and the responsiveness to anti-cancer agents in the NCI-60 cancer cell panel.
Methods and Materials: The hTERT rs2736100 was genotyped in the NCI-60 cancer cell lines. The relative telomere length (RTL) of each cell line was quantified using real-time PCR. The genotype was then correlated with publically available drug sensitivity data of two agents with telomerase-inhibition activity: Geldanamycin (HSP90 inhibitor) and RHPS4/BRACO19 (G-quadruplex stabilizer) as well as additional 110 commonly used agents with established mechanism of action. The association between rs2736100 and mutation status of TP53 gene was also tested.
Results: The C allele of the SNP was significantly correlated with increased sensitivity to RHPS4/BRACO19 with an additive effect (r = −0.35, p = 0.009) but not with Geldanamycin. The same allele was also significantly associated with sensitivity to antimitotic agents compared to other agents (p = 0.003). The highest correlation was observed between the SNP and paclitaxel (r = −0.36, p = 0.005). The telomere length was neither associated with rs2736100 nor with sensitivity to anti-cancer agents. The C allele of rs2736100 was significantly associated with increased mutation rate in TP53 gene (p = 0.004).
Conclusion: Our data suggested that the cancer risk allele of hTERT rs2736100 polymorphism may also affect the cancer cell response to both TERT inhibitor and anti-mitotic agents, which might be attributed to the elevated telomerase-independent activity of hTERT, as well as the increased risk for TP53 gene mutagenesis conferred by the polymorphism. Detailed mechanisms need to be further investigated.
TERT; polymorphism; rs2736100; anticancer drug; sensitivity
Genetic variation at the TERT-CLPTM1L locus at 5p15.33 is associated with susceptibility to several cancers, including epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). We have carried out fine-mapping of this region in EOC which implicates an association with a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the TERT promoter. We demonstrate that the minor alleles at rs2736109, and at an additional TERT promoter SNP, rs2736108, are associated with decreased breast cancer risk, and that the combination of both SNPs substantially reduces TERT promoter activity.
Telomere length, a biomarker of aging and age-related diseases, exhibits wide variation between individuals. Common genetic variation may explain some of the individual differences in telomere length. To date, however, only a few genetic variants have been identified in the previous genome-wide association studies. As emerging data suggest epigenetic regulation of telomere length, we investigated 72 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 46 genes that involve DNA and histone methylation as well as telomerase and telomere-binding proteins and DNA damage response. Genotyping and quantification of telomere length were performed in blood samples from 989 non-Hispanic white participants of the Sister Study, a prospective cohort of women aged 35–74 years. The association of each SNP with logarithmically-transformed relative telomere length was estimated using multivariate linear regression. Six SNPs were associated with relative telomere length in blood cells with p-values<0.05 (uncorrected for multiple comparisons). The minor alleles of BHMT rs3733890 G>A (p = 0.041), MTRR rs2966952 C>T (p = 0.002) and EHMT2 rs558702 G>A (p = 0.008) were associated with shorter telomeres, while minor alleles of ATM rs1801516 G>A (p = 0.031), MTR rs1805087 A>G (p = 0.038) and PRMT8 rs12299470 G>A (p = 0.019) were associated with longer telomeres. Five of these SNPs are located in genes coding for proteins involved in DNA and histone methylation. Our results are consistent with recent findings that chromatin structure is epigenetically regulated and may influence the genomic integrity of telomeric region and telomere length maintenance. Larger studies with greater coverage of the genes implicated in DNA methylation and histone modifications are warranted to replicate these findings.
We conducted a genome-wide association (GWA) study of lung cancer comparing 511,919 SNP genotypes in 1,952 cases and 1,438 controls. The most significant association was attained at 15q25.1 (rs8042374; P = 7.75 × 10−12), confirming recent observations. Pooling data with two other GWA studies (5,095 cases, 5,200 controls) and with replication in an additional 2,484 cases and 3,036 controls, we identified two newly associated risk loci mapping to 6p21.33 (rs3117582, BAT3-MSH5; Pcombined = 4.97 × 10−10) and 5p15.33 (rs401681, CLPTM1L; Pcombined = 7.90 × 10−9).