High levels of 'good' cholesterol may cut bowel cancer risk

Mar 08, 2011

High levels of "good" (high density lipoprotein) HDL cholesterol seem to cut the risk of bowel cancer, suggests research published online in Gut.

The association is independent of other potentially cancer-inducing markers of inflammation in the blood.

The researchers base their findings on participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. This is tracking the long term impact of diet on the development of cancer in more than half a million people in 10 European countries, including the UK.

Some 1,200 people who developed bowel and rectal cancers - 779 bowel and 459 - after agreeing to take part in EPIC were matched with another 1,200 participants of the same age, gender, and nationality.

Blood samples taken when they joined the study, and the dietary questionnaires these participants had completed, were compared to see if there were any discernible differences between the two groups.

The analysis showed that those who had the highest levels of HDL cholesterol, and another blood fat, apolipoprotein A, or apoA - a component of HDL cholesterol - had the lowest risk of developing .

Each rise of 16.6 mg/dl in HDL and of 32 mg/dl in apoA reduced the risk of bowel cancer by 22% and 18%, respectively, after taking account of diet, lifestyle, and weight.

But HDL and apoA levels had no impact on the risk of rectal cancer.

After excluding those who had only been monitored for two years, as they may have already been undergoing cancerous changes when they joined the study, only levels of HDL were associated with a reduction in bowel .

The association remained intact, irrespective of other indicators of inflammation, , and levels, all of which are associated with the development of cancer.

The authors explain that low HDL levels have been linked to higher levels of proteins involved in inflammation, while higher levels of proteins that dampen down the inflammatory response have also been linked to high HDL levels.

The pro inflammatory proteins boost cell growth and proliferation while curbing cell death, so HDL may alter the inflammatory process in some way, they suggest.

Explore further: Survival differences seen for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High vitamin D levels linked to lower risk of colon cancer

Jan 21, 2010

High blood levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of colon cancer, finds a large European study published on bmj.com today. The risk was cut by as much as 40% in people with the highest levels compared with ...

Smoking, couch-potato lifestyles boost cancer risks

Mar 02, 2011

Two studies released on Wednesday highlighted the risks and benefits of lifestyle choices in combatting cancer, showing the dangers of smoking for post-menopausal women and exercise's protective effect on the bowel.

Low levels of key protein may indicate pancreatic cancer risk

Aug 15, 2007

A protein that dwindles in response to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle may one day help doctors predict which people are at increased risk for pancreatic cancer, new research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and collaborating ...

2 immune-system proteins linked to colitis-associated cancer

Feb 02, 2009

Recent research from the laboratory of Michael Karin, PhD, at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine - the first researcher to demonstrate a molecular link between inflammation and cancer - has identified ...

Recommended for you

Survival differences seen for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer

Nov 27, 2014

The five-year survival rate for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer was higher than national levels in a small study at a single academic center performing a high rate of surgical therapy, including a total laryngectomy (removal ...

Gene test aids cancer profile

Nov 27, 2014

The first round of chemotherapy did little to suppress Ron Bose's leukemia. The second round, with 10 times the dose, knocked the proliferating blast cells down, but only by half.

Hospital volume not linked to costs of cancer surgery

Nov 26, 2014

(HealthDay)—Hospital surgical volume does not appear to correlate with Medicare payments for cancer surgery, according to research published online Nov. 24 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

satyricon
not rated yet Mar 08, 2011
Is there anything one can do/take to raise HDL, aside from exercise?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.