Over the last decade, telomere length (TL) has gained attention as a potential biomarker in cancer disease. We previously reported that long blood TL was associated with a poorer outcome in patients with breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that certain immunological components may have an impact on TL dynamics in cancer patients. One aim of the present study was to investigate a possible association between serum cytokines and TL of peripheral blood cells, tumors and corresponding kidney cortex, in patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma. For this purpose, a multiplex cytokine assay was used. Correlation analysis revealed significant positive correlations between tumor TL and peripheral levels of three cytokines (IL-7, IL-8 and IL-10). In a parallel patient group with various kidney tumors, TL was investigated in whole blood and in immune cell subsets in relation to peripheral levels of regulatory T cells (Tregs). A significant positive association was found between whole blood TL and Treg levels. However, the strongest correlation was found between Tregs and TL of the T lymphocyte fraction. Thus, patients with higher Treg levels displayed longer T cell telomeres, which might reflect a suppressed immune system with fewer cell divisions and hence less telomere shortening. These results are in line with our earlier observation that long blood TL is an unfavorable prognostic factor for cancer-specific survival. In summary, we here show that immunological components are associated with TL in patients with renal cell carcinoma, providing further insight into the field of telomere biology in cancer. © 2013 Svenson et al.
Svenson, U., Grönlund, E., Söderström, I., Sitaram, R. T., Ljungberg, B., & Roos, G. (2013). Telomere Length in Relation to Immunological Parameters in Patients with Renal Cell Carcinoma. PLoS ONE, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055543