Genetic variants in telomerase-related genes are associated with an older age at diagnosis in glioma patients: Evidence for distinct pathways of gliomagenesis

Kyle M. Walsh, Terri Rice, Paul A. Decker, Matthew L. Kosel, Thomas Kollmeyer, Helen M. Hansen, Shichun Zheng, Lucie S. McCoy, Paige M. Bracci, Erik Anderson, George Hsuang, Joe L. Wiemels, Alexander R. Pico, Ivan Smirnov, Annette M. Molinaro, Tarik Tihan, Mitchell S. Berger, Susan M. Chang, Michael D. Prados, Daniel H. LachanceHugues Sicotte, Jeanette E. Eckel-Passow, John K. Wiencke, Robert B. Jenkins, Margaret R. Wrensch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


BackgroundGenome-wide association studies have implicated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 7 genes as glioma risk factors, including 2 (TERT, RTEL1) involved in telomerase structure/function. We examined associations of these 7 established glioma risk loci with age at diagnosis among patients with glioma.MethodsSNP genotype data were available for 2286 Caucasian glioma patients from the University of California, San Francisco (n = 1434) and the Mayo Clinic (n = 852). Regression analyses were performed to test for associations between "number of risk alleles" and "age at diagnosis," adjusted for sex and study site and stratified by tumor grade/histology where appropriate.ResultsFour SNPs were significantly associated with age at diagnosis. Carrying a greater number of risk alleles at rs55705857 (CCDC26) and at rs498872 (PHLDB1) was associated with younger age at diagnosis (P = 1.4 × 10-22 and P = 9.5 × 10-7, respectively). These SNPs are stronger risk factors for oligodendroglial tumors, which tend to occur in younger patients, and their association with age at diagnosis varied across tumor subtypes. In contrast, carrying more risk alleles at rs2736100 (TERT) and at rs6010620 (RTEL1) was associated with older age at diagnosis (P = 6.2 × 10-4 and P = 2.5 × 10-4, respectively). These SNPs are risk factors for all glioma grades/histologies, and their association with age at diagnosis was consistent across tumor subgroups.ConclusionsCarrying a greater number of risk alleles might be expected to decrease age at diagnosis. However, glioma susceptibility conferred by variation in telomerase-related genes did not follow this pattern. This supports the hypothesis that telomerase-related mechanisms of telomere maintenance are more associated with gliomas that develop later in life than those utilizing telomerase-independent mechanisms (ie, alternative lengthening of telomeres).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1047
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • age at diagnosis
  • glioma
  • single nucleotide polymorphism
  • telomerase
  • telomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic variants in telomerase-related genes are associated with an older age at diagnosis in glioma patients: Evidence for distinct pathways of gliomagenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this