Meta-analysis of associations between telomere length and colorectal cancer survival from observational studies

Wei Wang, Lei Zheng, Ning Zhou, Na Li, Gilisihan Bulibu, Chunlei Xu, Yi Zhang and Yong Tang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:62500-62507. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20055

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Wei Wang1,*, Lei Zheng2,*, Ning Zhou1,*, Na Li1, Gilisihan Bulibu1, Chunlei Xu1, Yi Zhang3 and Yong Tang1

1Department of Digestive Internal Medicine, The Affiliated Tumor Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University, Urumqi, Xin Jiang Province, China

2Department of Endocrinology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China

3Department of Pharmacy, The First People's Hospital of Jiashan, Jiashan County, Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province, China

*Authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Yong Tang, email: [email protected]

Yi Zhang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: colorectal cancer, telomere length, meta-analysis, survival

Received: June 02, 2017     Accepted: July 25, 2017     Published: August 07, 2017


Background: Telomere length (TL) has been reported to be associated with the risk and survival of several cancers. But it is unclear for the prognostic role of TL in colorectal cancer (CRC).

Materials and Methods: Relevant citations were searched and identified using several major online databases through April 2017 which investigated associations between TL and CRC prognosis. We combined summary estimates using hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence interval (CI), which were pooled using a random-effects model. Overall survival (OS) was set as the primary outcome of interest.

Results: There are 8 cohort studies encompassing 1622 patients included in the meta-analysis. Pooled estimate indicated that long TL was not significantly associated with patient OS (HR 1.26, 95% CI, 0.76 to 2.08). When we conducted subgroup analyses based on baseline charcteristics, we found that long TL (versus short TL) was significantly associated with poor OS in studies conducted in Europe (n = 4, HR 2.73, 95% CI, 1.65 to 4.52, I2 = 0), using Southern blot to measure TL (n = 3, HR 2.93, 95% CI, 1.69 to 5.10, I2 = 0) and patients’ age more than 60 years (n = 3, HR 2.65, 95% CI, 1.22 to 5.76, I2 = 0). We found no significant associations between TL and patient disease-free, recurrence-free or progression-free survival (HR 1.19, 95% CI, 0.45 to 3.15).

Conclusions: Current evidence did not provide solid indication that long TL is significantly associated with improved or poor survival for patients with CRC. Further large sample size prospective cohort studies are warranted to determine the true relationship for specific patients.

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