Promoter methylation of PGC1A and PGC1B predicts cancer incidence in a veteran cohort

Jacob K. Kresovich, Brian T. Joyce, Tao Gao, Yinan Zheng, Zhou Zhang, Christopher J. Achenbach, Robert L. Murphy, Allan C. Just, Jincheng Shen, Hushan Yang, Pantel Vokonas, Joel Schwartz, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Lifang Hou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Aim: Previous studies suggest telomere shortening represses PGC1A and PGC1B expression leading to mitochondrial dysfunction. Methylation of CpG sites within these genes may interact with these factors to affect cancer risk. Materials & methods: Among 385 men, we identified 84 incidents of cancers (predominantly prostate and nonmelanoma skin). We examined associations between leukocyte DNA methylation of 41 CpGs from PGC1A and PGC1B with telomere length, mitochondrial 8-OHdG lesions, mitochondrial abundance and cancer incidence. Results: Methylation of five and eight CpG sites were significantly associated with telomere length and mitochondrial abundance at p < 0.05. Two CpG sites were independently associated with cancer risk: cg27514608 (PGC1A, TSS1500; HR: 1.55, 95% CI: 1.19-2.03, FDR = 0.02), and cg15219393 (PGC1B, first exon/5′UTR; HR: 3.71, 95% CI: 1.82-7.58, FDR < 0.01). Associations with cg15219393 were observed primarily among men with shorter leukocyte telomeres. Conclusion: PGC1A and PGC1B methylation may serve as early biomarkers of cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-743
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • DNA methylation
  • cancer biomarkers
  • cancer epigenetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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