Telomere length in myelodysplastic syndromes.
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The relationship between telomere length (TL) and predisposition to myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) remains unclear. We compared peripheral blood leukocyte (PBL) TL among cases of histologically confirmed MDS (n = 65) who were treatment-naive with no prior cancer history to age-matched controls (n = 63). Relative TL was measured in PBLs and saliva by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and in CD15+ and CD19+ cells by flow cytometry-fluorescence in situ hybridization (flow-FISH). Human telomerase reverse transcriptase gene (hTERT) mutations were assessed by PCR. After adjustment for age and sex, relative TLs were reduced in PBLs (p = 0.02), CD15+ (p = 0.01), CD19+ (p = 0.25), and saliva (p = 0.13) in MDS cases versus controls, although only the PBL and CD15+ results were statistically significant. Among MDS cases, CD15+ and CD19+ cell TLs were positively correlated (p = 0.03). PBL TL was reduced among those occupationally exposed to paints and pesticides, but was not associated with hTERT genotype. Future studies are needed to further investigate constitutional telomere attrition as a possible predisposing factor for MDS.