Colorectal cancer risk and dyslipidemia: A case-cohort study nested in an Italian multicentre cohort

Claudia Agnoli, Sara Grioni, Sabina Sieri, Carlotta Sacerdote, Paolo Vineis, Rosario Tumino, Maria Concetta Giurdanella, Valeria Pala, Amalia Mattiello, Paolo Chiodini, Licia Iacoviello, Amalia De Curtis, Leonardo Cattaneo, Fränzel J B van Duijnhoven, Salvatore Panico, Vittorio Krogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dyslipidemia is an established risk factor for many diseases, but its effect on colorectal cancer risk is less clear. We investigated the association of colorectal cancer risk with plasma triglycerides, total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol in four Italian EPIC centers. Methods: We conducted a case-cohort study on participants recruited to four Italian EPIC centers (Turin, Varese, Naples, and Ragusa; 34,148 subjects). A random subcohort of 850 subjects was obtained and 286 colorectal cancer cases were diagnosed. Triglycerides, total and HDL cholesterol were determined in plasma samples obtained at baseline and stored at -196. °C; LDL cholesterol was calculated. Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusted for potential confounders, were estimated by Cox regression models using the Prentice method. Results: The highest tertiles of total (HR 1.66, 95%CI 1.12-2.45) and LDL cholesterol (HR 1.87, 95%CI 1.27-2.76) were associated with increased colorectal cancer risk compared to lowest tertiles. Risks were greater for men than women, and for postmenopausal than premenopausal women. Highest tertiles of total and LDL cholesterol were also significantly associated with increased risks of colon cancer, distal colon cancer, and rectal cancer, but not proximal colon cancer. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that high levels of total and LDL cholesterol increase colorectal cancer risk, particularly in men and postmenopausal women. However additional studies are needed to clarify the role of plasma lipids in these cancers, particularly in view of the conflicting findings of previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Cholesterol
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Prospective study
  • Triglycerides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Epidemiology
  • Medicine(all)


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