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High Levels of Cholesterol and Triglycerides Up Risk of Prostate Cancer Recurrence

First Posted: Oct 10, 2014 05:13 AM EDT

A new study states that elevated levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood can up the risk of prostate cancer recurrence.

Triglycerides are an important measure of heart health. They are a type of fat that is found in the blood. If the body does not convert any calorie and use it right away, it is converted into triglycerides. When keeping an eye on blood pressure and cholesterol levels, it is necessary to monitor triglycerides. Both cholesterol and triglycerides are necessary for life.

In the latest study, researchers at Duke University School of Medicine found that higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides present in the blood of men who underwent prostate cancer surgery, is linked with an increased risk of the recurrence of the disease.

"While laboratory studies support an important role for cholesterol in prostate cancer, population-based evidence linking cholesterol and prostate cancer is mixed," said Emma Allott, PhD, postdoctoral associate at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. "Understanding associations between obesity, cholesterol, and prostate cancer is important given that cholesterol levels are readily modifiable with diet and/or statin use, and could therefore have important, practical implications for prostate cancer prevention and treatment."

The finding reveals that normalization or even partial normalization of serum lipid levels among men with dyslipidemia [abnormal lipid profile] helps lower the risk of prostate cancer recurrence.

Prostate cancer is diagnosed in an estimated 80 percent of men, aged of 80 years. This type of cancer occurs in a man's prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system.

In this study, the researchers evaluated the data of 843 men who underwent radical prostatectomy after being diagnosed with prostate cancer and had never taken statins prior to the surgery. It was noticed that those with serum triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dL or more had a 35 percent increased risk for prostate cancer recurrence as compared to those with normal levels of triglycerides.

Among the participants with abnormal blood lipid profile, for every 10 mg/dL increase in total serum cholesterol above 200 mg/dL there was a 9 percent rise in the risk of recurrence of prostate cancer.

"Given that 45 percent of deaths worldwide can be attributed to cardiovascular disease and cancer, with prostate cancer being the second most common cause of male cancer deaths in the United States, understanding the role of dyslipidemia as a shared, modifiable risk factor for both of these common causes of mortality is of great importance," she added.

The finding was documented in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of American Association for Cancer Research.

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