Cholesterol links cancer, diabetes

Low or high levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a Chinese study that noted the increasing evidence of an association between type 2 diabetes and cancer risk.

The study included 6 107 diabetes patients. None of the patients were taking cholesterol-lowering statins.

The researchers found that LDL levels below 2.80 mmol/L were associated with an increased risk of cancers of the digestive organs and peritoneum, genital and urinary organs, and lymphatic and blood tissues. LDL levels above 3.80 mmol/L were associated with increased risk of oral, digestive, bone, skin, connective tissue and breast cancers.

The findings suggest "the use of these levels as risk markers may help clinicians to assess their patients more fully and thus to prevent premature deaths in patients who have high risk," wrote the team from the Hong Kong Institute of Diabetes and Obesity, the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences and The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Other factors to consider
The researchers recommended a re-analysis of data from clinical trials to confirm or refute their findings.

Confounding factors such as lifestyle, socio-economic status and indication for use of statins need to be considered when examining the association between LDL levels and cancer risk, Drs Frank Hu and Eric Ding of the Harvard School of Public Health, wrote in an accompanying commentary.

"Low serum cholesterol is commonly observed in individuals with ill health (e.g. cancer patients), and those with unhealthy lifestyle characteristics such as smoking and heavy drinking," they noted. - (HealthDay News)

Read more:
Cholesterol Centre
Diabetes Centre

August 2008

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
34% - 9269 votes
66% - 17898 votes