Background: Mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn) is considered a biomarker for mitochondrial function and oxidative stress. Although previous studies have suggested a potential relationship between mtDNAcn at the time of colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosis and CRC prognosis, findings have been inconsistent, and no study has specifically investigated the association of pre-diagnostic mtDNAcn with CRC survival. Methods: We examined the association of pre-diagnostic leukocyte mtDNAcn (measured by qPCR) with overall and CRC-specific survival among 587 patients in Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Cox models were constructed to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CIs). Results: During a mean follow-up of 10.5 years, 395 deaths were identified; 180 were due to CRC. Overall, we did not observe significant associations between mtDNAcn and either overall or CRC-specific survival among all cases or by cancer location, grade, or stage. In an exploratory stratified analysis, a suggestive inverse association of mtDNAcn and overall death risk appeared among current smokers [HR (95 % CI) for 1 SD decrease in mtDNAcn = 1.50 (0.98, 2.32), P-trend = 0.06]. Reduced mtDNAcn and lower CRC-specific death risk was observed among patients aged ≤ 70.5 at diagnosis [HR (95 % CI) for 1 SD decrease of mtDNAcn = 0.71 (0.52, 0.97), P-trend = 0.03], ≤ 5 years from blood collection to diagnosis [HR (95 % CI) for 1 SD decrease in mtDNAcn = 0.65 (0.44, 0.96), P-trend = 0.03] and those consuming a low-inflammatory diet [HR (95 % CI) for 1 SD decrease in mtDNAcn = 0.61 (0.42, 0.88), P-trend = 0.009]. Conclusion: no significant associations between pre-diagnostic leukocyte mtDNAcn and either overall or CRC-specific survival appeared but exploratory analysis identified potential sub-group associations.
- Colorectal cancer
- Mitochondrial DNA
- Mitochondrial DNA copy number
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research