Thursday, March 10, 2011

'Good' Cholesterol May Cut Colon Cancer Risk

Anti-inflammatory properties of HDL cholesterol may ward off cancer, researchers say.

Cutting "bad" cholesterol (Low-Density Lipoprotein) and increasing "good" cholesterol (High-Density Lipoprotein) already are known to reduce the risk for heart disease.

A new study suggests that high levels of "good" cholesterol may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Researchers led by Dr. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands compared 1,238 people with colorectal cancer to 1,238 healthy people. Of those with cancer, 779 had colon cancer and 459 had rectal cancer.

The investigators found that those with the highest levels of HDL cholesterol and another blood fat called apolipoprotein A (apoA) had the least chance of developing colon cancer, but no impact was seen on rectal cancer.

This association was independent of some other markers in the blood that are related to the development of cancer including inflammation, insulin resistance and oxygen free radicals.

For each 16.6 mg/dL (0.41mmol/L) increase in HDL and 32 mg/dL increase in apoA, the risk of colon cancer was cut by 22 percent and 18 percent, respectively, Bueno-de-Mesquita's team found. No association was observed with the risk of rectal cancer.

The researchers speculate that HDL's anti-inflammatory properties may explain the finding, but say further research is needed to tease out the specific cause. They also acknowledged that the short follow-up period -- just 3.8 years -- is a limitation to their study.

Journal Reference

Van Duijnhoven et al. Blood lipid and lipoprotein concentrations and colorectal cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Gut, Published Online First: 7 March 2011

CLICK HERE for a layman friendly explanation of Colorectal Cancer by Ms Norsidawati Abdul Gani of Universiti Putra Malaysia

CLICK HERE for a clinical overview of cancer by Dr. Gerard Lim

Picture Credit: Metrohealth.Org

CLICK HERE for tips on raising your levels of HDL

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