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Prostate Cancer
Volume 2016, Article ID 3691650, 8 pages
Research Article

Influence of In Utero Maternal and Neonate Factors on Cord Blood Leukocyte Telomere Length: Clues to the Racial Disparity in Prostate Cancer?

1Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
2Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
3Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, 401 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
4Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zurich, Hirschengraben 84, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland
5Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
6Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
7Department of Urology and the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA

Received 31 May 2016; Accepted 23 July 2016

Academic Editor: Marco Bisoffi

Copyright © 2016 Kari A. Weber et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Modifiable factors in adulthood that explain the racial disparity in prostate cancer have not been identified. Because racial differences in utero that may account for this disparity are understudied, we investigated the association of maternal and neonate factors with cord blood telomere length, as a cumulative marker of cell proliferation and oxidative damage, by race. Further, we evaluated whether cord blood telomere length differs by race. Methods. We measured venous umbilical cord blood leukocyte relative telomere length by qPCR in 38 black and 38 white full-term male neonates. Using linear regression, we estimated geometric mean relative telomere length and tested for differences by race. Results. Black mothers were younger and had higher parity and black neonates had lower birth and placental weights. These factors were not associated with relative telomere length, even after adjusting for or stratifying by race. Relative telomere length in black (2.72) and white (2.73) neonates did not differ, even after adjusting for maternal or neonate factors (all ). Conclusions. Maternal and neonate factors were not associated with cord blood telomere length, and telomere length did not differ by race. These findings suggest that telomere length at birth does not explain the prostate cancer racial disparity.