Chronic inflammation and oxidative damage caused by obesity, cigarette smoking, and chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are major risk factors associated with Barrett's esophagus (BE) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). EAC has been increasing the past few decades, and early discovery and treatment are crucial for survival. Telomere shortening due to cell division and oxidative damage may reflect the impact of chronic inflammation and could possibly be used as predictor for disease development. We examined the prevalence of shorter leukocyte telomere length (LTL) among individuals with GERD, BE, or EAC using a pooled analysis of studies from the Barrett's and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium (BEACON). Telomere length was measured in leukocyte DNA samples by Q-PCR. Participants included 1173 patients (386 with GERD, 384 with EAC, 403 with BE) and 736 population-based controls. The association of LTL (in tertiles) along the continuum of disease progression from GERD to BE to EAC was calculated using study-specific odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders. Shorter LTL were less prevalent among GERD patients (OR 0.57; 95% CI: 0.35-0.93), compared to population-based controls. No statistically significant increased prevalence of short/long LTL among individuals with BE or EAC was observed. In contrast to some earlier reports, our findings add to the evidence that leukocyte telomere length is not a biomarker of risk related to the etiology of EAC. The findings do not suggest a relationship between LTL and BE or EAC.
Keywords: Barrett's esophagus; esophageal Adenocarcinoma, epidemiology; telomere.
© 2016 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.