High HDL Cholesterol Tied to Decreased Colon Cancer Risk

Increased high-density lipoprotein and apolipoprotein A-I tied to lower colon cancer risk

WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Higher concentrations of serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol are associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer, according to a study published online March 7 in Gut.

Fränzel J.B. van Duijnhoven, Ph.D., of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, Netherlands, and colleagues investigated the connection between serum levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoprotein A-I (apoA) and B, and colorectal cancer incidence. Among participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, 1,238 cases of incident colorectal cancer were matched with 1,238 controls, and serum concentrations of total cholesterol, HDL, low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, apoA, and apolipoprotein B were measured. Questionnaires provided information on diet and lifestyle. Incidence rate ratios were adjusted for confounders, including physical characteristics, smoking, diet, and lifestyle.

The researchers found that higher HDL and apoA levels were linked with a significant reduction in the risk of colon cancer; whereas, there was no association with the risk of rectal cancer. After exclusion of the first two years of follow-up, only the link between HDL and colon cancer remained. The association between HDL and colon cancer risk was unaffected by adjustment for biomarkers of systemic inflammation, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress.

"These findings show that high concentrations of serum HDL are associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer," the authors write. "If confirmed, levels of HDL may be used, in addition to other modifiable risk factors already applied in clinical practice, to advise patients about changing their lifestyle."

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