Total cholesterol and cancer risk in a large prospective study in Korea

Cari M. Kitahara, Amy Berrington De González, Neal D. Freedman, Rachel Huxley, Yejin Mok, Sun Ha Jee, Jonathan M. Samet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose To further clarify the relationship between total cholesterol and cancer, which remains unclear. Methods We prospectively examined the association between total cholesterol and site-specific and all-cancer incidence among 1,189,719 Korean adults enrolled in the National Health Insurance Corporation who underwent a standardized biennial medical examination in 1992 to 1995 and were observed for 14 years until cancer diagnosis or death. Results Over follow-up, 53,944 men and 24,475 women were diagnosed with a primary cancer. Compared with levels less than 160 mg/dL, high total cholesterol (≥ 240 mg/dL) was positively associated with prostate cancer (hazard ratio [HR], 1.24; 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.44; P trend = .001) and colon cancer (HR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.25; P trend = .05) in men and breast cancer in women (HR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.33; P trend = .03). Higher total cholesterol was associated with a lower incidence of liver cancer (men: HR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.45; P trend < .001; women: HR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.27 to 0.39; P trend < .001), stomach cancer (men: HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.82 to 0.93; P trend le; .001; women: HR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.77 to 0.97; P trend = .06), and, in men, lung cancer (HR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.82 to 0.96; P trend = .001). Results for liver cancer were slightly attenuated after additional adjustment for liver enzyme levels and hepatitis B surface antigen status (men: HR, 0.60; P trend < .001; women: HR, 0.46; P trend = .003) and exclusion of the first 10 years of follow-up (men: HR, 0.59; P trend = .001; women: HR, 0.44; P trend < .001). Total cholesterol was inversely associated with all-cancer incidence in both men (HR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.81 to 0.86; P trend < .001) and women (HR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.87 to 0.95; P trend < .001), but these associations were attenuated after excluding incident liver cancers (men: HR, 0.95; P trend < .001; women: HR, 0.98; P trend = .32). Conclusion In this large prospective study, we found that total cholesterol was associated with the risk of several different cancers, although these relationships differed markedly by cancer site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1592-1598
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Volume29
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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