Cancer Diagnostics / Disease States / Health

High Cholesterol Associated with Increased Breast Cancer Risk

High Cholesterol Associated with Increased Breast Cancer RiskNew research was recently presented at Frontiers in Cardiovascular Biology (FCVB) 2014 in Barcelona, Spain which identified a possible link to high cholesterol levels and an increased breast cancer risk in more than 1 million patients over a 13-year time period in the UK.

A link between obesity and breast cancer has been formulated over the past few years, and a 2013 study on mice highlighted that mice with higher circulating cholesterol were more likely to develop cancer. It is these existing studies that lead to Dr Rahul Potluri and his team to examine the topic on a wider human population, with Potluri saying “We have a general principle that obesity is linked to breast cancer and a study in mice suggested that this may be because of cholesterol,” Potluri said. “We decided to investigate whether there was any association between hyperlipidemia, which is high cholesterol essentially, and breast cancer.”

Data from more than 1 million patients were used in a retrospective study between the years of 2000 and 2013. The researchers employed the Algorithm for Comorbidities, Associations, Length of Stay and Mortality (ACALM) database to determine whether there was any connection.

Results showed that there were 664,159 females, of these 22,938 had hyperlipidemia. 9,312 women had breast cancer, and 530 of those with hyperlipidemia went on to develop breast cancer. Statistical models were used to analyse the results and it was found that having hyperlipidemia increased the risk of breast cancer by 64%.

Despite the findings, both Potluri and other medical experts said the association found by the researchers doesn’t constitute a direct link between high cholesterol and breast cancer and that further research needs to be undertaken. “We found that women with high cholesterol had a significantly greater chance of developing breast cancer. This was an observational study so we can’t conclude that high cholesterol causes breast cancer but the strength of this association warrants further investigation…. A prospective study that monitors the risk of breast cancer in women with and without high cholesterol is needed to confirm what we observe. If the connection between high cholesterol and breast cancer is validated, the next step would be to see if lowering cholesterol with statins can reduce the risk of developing cancer”.

Reference: Web MD

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