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Is low cholesterol a risk factor for cancer mortality?

Parsa, Nadera; Taravatmanesh, Samirab; Trevisan, Maurizioc

European Journal of Cancer Prevention: November 2018 - Volume 27 - Issue 6 - p 570–576
doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000391
Research Papers: Lifestyle

Although a large number of studies have shown the associations of high plasma lipid profile levels with cancer, few studies demonstrate the association between low serum cholesterol (<160 mg/dl) and risk for cancer mortality. The aim of this study was to determine the association of low serum cholesterol level as a risk factor for mortality in cancer. The prospective cohort studies were conducted on 19 of 52 cohort studies including 30 179 male and 26 005 female participants who were followed up for 9 years. Cox proportion hazard model was applied to analyze these data. The associations are presented as hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). The statistical package for the social sciences software was used for analysis. The multivariate analysis results showed risk associations with low serum cholesterol for the first decile among male participants (cancer: HR=1.52, 95% CI: 1.06–2.18; noncancer liver dysfunction: HR=10.73, 95% CI: 3.74–30.18) and female participants (cancer: HR=1.03, 95% CI: 0.52–2.05; noncancer liver dysfunction: HR=25.8, 95% CI: 3.09–217.70). Furthermore, in the second decile, this association among male patients (noncancer liver dysfunction: HR=3.73, 95% CI: 1.16–11.95) had a statistically significant result. For the remaining deciles in both sexes, cancer and noncancer liver dysfunction has some risk or protective association, although not significant. Findings of this study indicated an inverse association between low serum cholesterol and cancer and noncancer liver dysfunction mortality.

aCardiovascular Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz

bHealth Promotion Research Center, Zahedan University of Medical Science, Zahedan, Iran

cDepartment of Medical School, City College of New York (CCNY), New York, New York, USA

Correspondence to Nader Parsa, PhD, Cardiovascular Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz 7193635899, Iran Tel: +98 713 212 2437; fax: +98 713 234 7315; e-mail:

Received March 16, 2017

Accepted June 12, 2017

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