Purpose: Telomeres play a key role in the maintenance of chromosome integrity and stability, and telomere shortening is involved in initiation and progression of malignancies. The aim of this study was to determine whether telomere length is associated with the colorectal carcinoma. Patients and methods: A total of 148 colorectal cancer (CRC) samples and corresponding adjacent non-cancerous tissues were evaluated for telomere length, P53 mutation, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mutation detected by fluorescent immunohistochemistry. Telomere length was estimated by real-time PCR. Samples with a T/S>1.0 have an average telomere length greater than that of the standard DNA; samples with a T/S<1.0 have an average telomere length shorter than that of the standard DNA.
Results: Telomeres were shorter in CRCs than in adjacent tissues, regardless of tumor stage and grade, site, or genetic alterations (P=0.004). Telomere length in CRCs also had differences with COX-2 status (P=0.004), but did not differ with P53 status (P=0.101), tumor progression (P=0.244), gender (P=0.542), and metastasis (P=0.488). There was no clear trend between T/S optimal cut-off values (<1 or > 1) and colorectal tumor progression, metastasis, gender, P53 and COX-2 status.
Conclusion: These findings suggesting that telomere shortening is associated with colorectal carcinogenesis but does not differ with tumor progression, gender, and metastasis.