Inflammation Marker Linked to Higher Cancer Mortality

In men, elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels linked to higher all-cause, cancer death

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Elevated serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), a marker of chronic inflammation, correlate with increased mortality from all causes and cancer in men but not in women, according to research published in the November issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

To examine the correlation between serum hs-CRP levels and all-cause, cancer, and site-specific cancer mortality, Young-Jin Ko, of the Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study involving 33,567 apparently cancer-free Korean adults who underwent routine check-ups and measurement of serum hs-CRP levels between May 1995 and December 2006.

During an average follow-up of 9.4 years, the researchers found that men with an hs-CRP level of ≥3 mg/L versus ≤1 mg/L had an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.38 for all-cause mortality and 1.61 for cancer-related mortality. For women, the corresponding adjusted hazard ratios were 1.29 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.94 to 1.77) and 1.24 (95 percent CI, 0.75 to 2.06), respectively. For both sexes combined, elevated hs-CRP correlated with an increased risk of site-specific mortality for lung cancer (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.53).

"In the future, assessment of the level of serum hs-CRP, a marker of chronic low-grade inflammation, might help identify subjects at increased risk of cancer death," the authors write.

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