Background/Aim: Telomere shortening in leukocytes has been thought to be associated with reduced immuneresponse capacity and increased chromosome instability. Several studies indicate that telomere length in the peripheral blood leukocyte DNA can predict clinical outcome of several cancers. We evaluated the potential association between telomere shortening in the leukocyte DNA and clinicopathological features and prognosis of gastric cancer (GC) in Japanese patients. Materials and Methods: Telomere length in leukocyte DNA was measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 207 GC patients. The association between telomere length and clinicopathological features and prognosis was evaluated. Results: These short-telomere group was significantly associated with advanced stage (p=0.015), worse overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) (p=0.046 and 0.026, respectively). The same group was also weakly associated with overall and peritoneal recurrences (p=0.052 and 0.059, respectively). Conclusion: Telomere shortening in leukocyte DNA is associated with advanced stage and poor prognosis of GC, which may reflect their reduced immune response capacity or increased chromosome instability.
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