Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 11 pp 14675—14686
DNA-methylation-based telomere length estimator: comparisons with measurements from flow FISH and qPCR
- 1 Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20850, USA
- 2 Department of Biostatistics, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
- 3 Department of Human Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
- 4 Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20850, USA
- 5 Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD 21701, USA
- 6 Terry Fox Laboratory, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L3, Canada
- 7 Repeat Diagnostics Inc, North Vancouver, BC V7M 1A5, Canada
- 8 Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA
- 9 Biostatistics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
Received: January 5, 2021 Accepted: May 14, 2021 Published: June 3, 2021https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.203126
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2021 Pearce et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Telomere length (TL) is a marker of biological aging associated with several health outcomes. High throughput reproducible TL measurements are needed for large epidemiological studies. We compared the novel DNA methylation-based estimator (DNAmTL) with the high-throughput quantitative PCR (qPCR) and the highly accurate flow cytometry with fluorescent in situ hybridization (flow FISH) methods using blood samples from healthy adults. We used Pearson’s correlation coefficient, Bland Altman plots and linear regression models for statistical analysis. Shorter DNAmTL was associated with older age, male sex, white race, and cytomegalovirus seropositivity (p<0.01 for all). DNAmTL was moderately correlated with qPCR TL (N=635, r=0.41, p < 0.0001) and flow FISH total lymphocyte TL (N=144, r=0.56, p < 0.0001). The agreements between flow FISH TL and DNAmTL or qPCR were acceptable but with wide limits of agreement. DNAmTL correctly classified >70% of TL categorized above or below the median, but the accuracy dropped with increasing TL categories. The ability of DNAmTL to detect associations with age and other TL-related factors in the absence of strong correlation with measured TL may indicate its capture of aspects of telomere maintenance mechanisms and not necessarily TL. The inaccuracy of DNAmTL prediction should be considered during data interpretation and across-study comparisons.