Inflammation Marker Linked to Increased Cancer Death Risk
29 Nov 2012
The measurement of blood levels of high-sensitive C-reactive protein in apparently cancer-free men could potentially help identify those at increased risk for death from cancer.
High-sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is an important marker of inflammation has been linked to the initiation and progression of several types of cancer, as well as to the progression of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
Scientists at the Seoul National University Hospital (South Korea) retrospectively analyzed data from 33,556 individuals who had completed medical checkups and had been screened for blood hs-CRP at a health-screening center between May 1995 and December 2006. The average follow-up was 9.4 years, and during that time, 1,054 deaths from all causes and 506 deaths from cancer were recorded.
The hs-CRP levels were measured with a highly sensitive latex-enhanced immunoassay run on an automated chemistry analyzer (Hitachi; Tokyo, Japan). The investigators adjusted for several variables, including age, diabetes, smoking status and exercise habits and found that men with the highest level of hs-CRP in their blood, 3 mg /L or more, were 38% more likely to have died from any cause compared with men with the lowest hs-CRP level of 1 mg/L or less. They were also 61% more likely to have died from cancer. For women, after adjusting for a number of variables, no statistically significant association was observed for hs-CRP level and death from any cause or death from cancer.
Through analysis of associations between hs-CRP levels and site-specific cancers, the scientists found that a significant relationship existed only for lung cancer. After adjusting for multiple variables, individuals with the highest hs-CRP level were more than twice as likely to die from lung cancer compared with those with the lowest hs-CRP level. The association between hs-CRP levels and all-cause mortality and cancer mortality was stronger in lean individuals compared with those who were overweight.
Minseon Park, MD, PhD, MPH, the senior author of the study said, "We wanted to determine whether there was a relationship between a well-established marker of inflammation, high-sensitive C-reactive protein, and death from all causes, death from cancer or death from a site-specific cancer in Koreans." The study was published in the November 2012 edition of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.