A common genetic variation links to both bladder cancer risk and to the length of protective caps found on the ends of chromosomes.
These endings or tips, called telomeres, guard against damage of chromosomes and instability of genes that can lead to cancer and other diseases.
“Telomere length diminishes with age and short telomeres are associated with age-related diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer,” says Jian Gu, Ph.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Epidemiology.
“Understanding the complex genetic regulation of telomere length and its relation to the causes of bladder and other types of cancer will help develop therapies or lifestyle changes that reduce cancer risk,” says senior author Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of MD Anderson’s Department of Epidemiology.
Reported in April 2011 at the 102nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.