Mitochondrial DNA copy-number variation and pancreatic cancer risk in the prospective EPIC cohort

Manuel Gentiluomo, Verena A. Katzke, Rudolf Kaaks, Anne Tjønneland, Gianluca Severi, Vittorio Perduca, Marie Christine Boutron-Ruault, Elisabete Weiderpass, Pietro Ferrari, Theron Johnson, Matthias B. Schulze, Manuela Bergmann, Antonia Trichopoulou, Anna Karakatsani, Carlo La Vecchia, Domenico Palli, Sara Grioni, Salvatore Panico, Rosario Tumino, Carlotta SacerdoteBas Bueno-De-Mesquita, Roel Vermeulen, Torkjel M. Sandanger, J. Ramón Quirós, Miguel Rodriguez-Barranco, Pilar Amiano, Sandra Colorado-Yohar, Eva Ardanaz, Malin Sund, Kay Tee Khaw, Nicholas J. Wareham, Julie A. Schmidt, Paula Jakszyn, Luca Morelli, Federico Canzian, Daniele Campa

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number in peripheral blood has been found to be associated with risk of developing several cancers. However, data on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) are very limited. Methods: To further our knowledge on this topic, we measured relative mtDNA copy number by a quantitative real-time PCR assay in peripheral leukocyte samples of 476 PDAC cases and 357 controls nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Results: We observed lower mtDNA copy number with advancing age (P = 6.54 x 10-5) and with a high body mass index (BMI) level (P = 0.004) and no association with sex, smoking behavior, and alcohol consumption. We found an association between increased mtDNA copy number and decreased risk of developing PDAC with an odds ratios (OR) of 0.35 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.16-0.79; P = 0.01] when comparing the fifth quintile with the first using an unconditional logistic regression and an OR of 0.19 (95% CI, 0.07-0.52; P = 0.001) with a conditional analysis. Analyses stratified by BMI showed an association between high mtDNA copy number and decreased risk in the stratum of normal weight, consistent with the main analyses. Conclusions: Our results suggest a protective effect of a higher number of mitochondria, measured in peripheral blood leukocytes, on PDAC risk. Impact: Our findings highlight the importance of understanding the mitochondrial biology in pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-686
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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