Multiple independent variants at the TERT locus are associated with telomere length and risks of breast and ovarian cancer.
Kerin, Michael J.
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Bojesen, S. E., Pooley, K. A., Johnatty, S. E., Beesley, J., Michailidou, K., Tyrer, J. P., et al. Multiple independent variants at the TERT locus are associated with telomere length and risks of breast and ovarian cancer. Nat Genet, 45(4), 371-384.
TERT-locus SNPs and leukocyte telomere measures are reportedly associated with risks of multiple cancers. Using the Illumina custom genotyping array iCOGs, we analyzed ~480 SNPs at the TERT locus in breast (n = 103,991), ovarian (n = 39,774) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (n = 11,705) cancer cases and controls. Leukocyte telomere measurements were also available for 53,724 participants. Most associations cluster into three independent peaks. The minor allele at the peak 1 SNP rs2736108 associates with longer telomeres (P = 5.8 × 10!-7), lower risks for estrogen receptor (ER)-negative (P = 1.0 × 10!-8) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (P = 1.1 × 10!-5) breast cancers and altered promoter assay signal. The minor allele at the peak 2 SNP rs7705526 associates with longer telomeres (P = 2.3 × 10!-14), higher risk of low-malignant-potential ovarian cancer (P = 1.3 × 10!-15) and greater promoter activity. The minor alleles at the peak 3 SNPs rs10069690 and rs2242652 increase ER-negative (P = 1.2 × 10!-12) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (P = 1.6 × 10!-14) breast and invasive ovarian (P = 1.3 × 10!-11) cancer risks but not via altered telomere length. The cancer risk alleles of rs2242652 and rs10069690, respectively, increase silencing and generate a truncated TERT splice variant.