Healthy Cholesterol May Lower Cancer Risk
HDL 'Good' Cholesterol Associated With Reduced Risk for Cancer
Bad Cholesterol: Cancer Risk Factor?
In an accompanying editorial, Jennifer Robinson, MD, MPH, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the University of Iowa College of Public Health in Iowa City, writes that low HDL levels could help clinicians identify who is at risk.
“This study suggests that HDL might be an important marker for all lifestyle risk factors we know contribute to both heart disease and cancers -- smoking, obesity and inflammation, for example,” she writes. “Since low HDL appears to be a marker for chronic disease risk, this is just another reason why we need to emphasize improved lifestyle among these patients.”
Robinson also notes it is unclear whether high HDL may be protective or if low HDL may indicate risk of disease. “Low HDL levels may simply be a reflection of chronic conditions that increase inflammation and insulin resistance, which may directly influence atherosclerosis and carcinogenesis,” she writes.
Separately, the researchers conducted a secondary analysis of the same data to look at the impact of other cancer risk factors -- age and body mass index (BMI), a measurement of height and weight. Both factors have also been linked to cancer risk. Karas and his team found a significant and direct association between both age and BMI and cancer; every five-year increase in age was associated with a 33% relatively higher cancer rate, and every 1 kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with a 21% relatively higher cancer rate. The findings affirm the notion that age and weight influence cancer risk.