Serum Cholesterol and Human Cancer

  • Anthony John McMichael
Part of the Human Nutrition book series (HUNU, volume 7)


In the early 1980s, substantial interest centered on a series of epidemiologic observations indicating that individuals with low concentrations of serum cholesterol were at increased risk of cancer. In view of mounting advice from cardiovascular disease epidemiologists that the mean concentration of serum cholesterol within the community should be lowered, as an important means of primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (Grundy et al., 1982; World Health Organization, 1985), these cancer-related observations posed a potentially serious public health dilemma (Feinleib, 1982; McMichael et al., 1984).


Colon Cancer Cancer Risk Cancer Mortality Serum Cholesterol Serum Cholesterol Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abramson, S. H., and Kark, J. D., 1985, Serum cholesterol and primary brain tumours: A case-control study, Br. J. Cancer 52: 93–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, K. M., Castelli, W. P., and Levy, D., 1987, Cholesterol and mortality: 30 years of follow-up from the Framingham study, JAMA 257: 217–218.Google Scholar
  3. Axtell, L. M., Asire, A. J.,and Myers, M. H., 1976, Cancer patient survival, report no. 5, US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Publication no. (NIH)77–992, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  4. Bases, R. E., and Krakoff, I. H., 1965, Studies of serum cholesterol levels in leukemia, J. Reticuloendothel. Soc. 2: 8–14.Google Scholar
  5. Buchalter, J., Herbert, E., and Flehinger, B., 1983, A case-control study of time-trends in serum cholesterol levels prior to the detection of colon cancer (Abstract), Gastroenterology 84: 1403.Google Scholar
  6. Cambien, F., Ducimetiere, P., and Richard, J., 1980, Total serum cholesterol and cancer mortality in a middle-aged male population, Am. J. Epidemiol. 112: 388–394.Google Scholar
  7. Committee of Principal Investigators, 1978, A co-operative trial in the primary prevention of ischaemic heart disease using clofibrate, Br. Heart J. 40: 1069–1118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Committee of Principal Investigators, 1980, WHO co-operative trial on primary prevention of ischaemic heart disease using clofibrate to lower serum cholesterol: Mortality follow-up, Lancet 2: 379–385.Google Scholar
  9. Coronary Drug Project Research Group, 1975, Clofibrate and niacin in coronary heart disease, JAMA 231: 360–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dahlen, G., Ericsson, C., de Faire, U., Iselius, L., and Lundman, T., 1983, Genetic and environmental determinants of cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol concentrations in blood, Int. J. Epidemiol. 12: 32–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dyer, A. R., Stamler, J., Paul, O., Shekelle, R. B., Schoenberger, J. A., Berkson, D. M., Lepper, M., Collette, P., Shekelle, S., and Lindberg, H. A., 1981, Serum cholesterol and risk of death from cancer and other causes in three Chicago epidemiological studies, J. Chronic Dis. 34: 249–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ederer, F., Leren, P., Turpeinen, O., and Frantz, I. D., 1971, Cancer among men on cholesterol-lowering diets, Lancet 2: 203–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Enstrom, J. E., 1980, Health and dietary practices and cancer mortality among California Mormons, In: Cancer Incidence in Defined Populations (Banbury Report 4), ( J. Cairns, J. L. Lyons, and M. Skolnick, eds.), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, pp. 69–92.Google Scholar
  14. Feinleib, M., 1982, Summary of a workshop on cholesterol and noncardiovascular disease mortality, Prey. Med. 11: 360–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Garcia-Palmieri, M. R., Sorlie, P. D., Costas, R., and Havlik, R. J., 1981, An apparent inverse relationship between serum cholesterol and cancer mortality in Puerto Rico, Am. J. Epidemiol. 114: 29–40Google Scholar
  16. Gerhardsson, M., Rosenqvist, U., Ahlbom, A., and Carlson, L. A., 1986, Serum cholesterol and cancer-A retrospective case-control study, Int. J. Epidemiol. 15: 155–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grundy, S. M., Bilheimer, D., Blackburn, H., Brown, W. V., Kwiterovich, P. O., Mattson, F., Schonfeld, G., and Weidman, W. H., 1982, Rationale of the Diet-Heart Statement of the American Heart Association. Report of Nutrition Committee, Circulation 65: 839A - 854A.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hiatt, R. A., Friedman, G. D., Bawol, R. D., and Ury, H. K., 1982, Breast cancer and serum cholesterol, J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 68: 885–889.Google Scholar
  19. Hiatt, R., Fireman, B., and Friedman, G. D., 1983, Cholesterol and cancer (Abstract), Am. J. Epidemiol. 118: 438.Google Scholar
  20. International Collaborative Group, 1982, Circulating cholesterol level and risk of death from cancer in men aged 40 to 69 years: Experience of an international collaborative group, JAMA 248: 2853–2859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kagan, A., McGee, D. L., Yano, K., Rhoads, G. G., and Nomura, A., 1981, Serum cholesterol and mortality in a Japanese–American population: The Honolulu Heart Program, Am. J. Epidemiol. 114: 11–20.Google Scholar
  22. Kark, J. D., Smith, A. H., and Hames, C. G., 1980, The relationship of serum cholesterol to the incidence of cancer in Evans County, Georgia, J. Chronic Dis. 33: 311–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kark, J. D., Smith, A. H., and Hames, C. G., 1982, Serum retinol and the inverse relationship between serum cholesterol and cancer, Br. Med. J. 284: 152–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Katan, M. B., 1986, Apolipoprotein E isoforms, serum cholesterol, and cancer, Lancet 1: 507–508.Google Scholar
  25. Keys, A., 1980, Seven Countries: A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  26. Keys, A., Anderson, J. T., and Grande, F., 1965, Serum cholesterol response to changes in diet, Metabolism 14: 747–787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Keys, A., Aravanis, C., Blackburn, H., Buzina, R., Dontas, A. S., Fidanza, F., Karvonen, M. J., Menotti, A., Nedeljkovic, S., Punsar, S., and Toshima, H., 1985, Serum cholesterol and cancer mortality in the Seven Countries Study, Am. J. Epidemiol. 121: 870–873.Google Scholar
  28. Kozarevic, D. J., McGee, D., Vojvodic, N., Gordon, T., Racic, Z., Zukel, W., and Dawber, T., 1981, Serum cholesterol and mortality: The Yugoslavia Cardiovascular Disease Study, Am. J. Epidemiol. 114: 21–28.Google Scholar
  29. Laskarzewski, P., Khoury, P., Morrison, J. A., Kelly, K., Mellies, M., and Glueck, C. J., 1982, Cancer, cholesterol, and lipoprotein cholesterols, Prey. Med. 11: 253–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lyon, J. L., Gardner, J. W., Klauber, M. R., and Smart, C. R., 1977, Low cancer incidence and mortality in Utah, Cancer 39: 2608–2618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Malarkey, W. B., Schroeder, L. L., Stevens, V. C., James, A. G., and Lanese, R. R., 1977, Twenty-four hour preoperative endocrine profiles in women with benign and malignant breast disease, Cancer Res. 37: 4655–4699.Google Scholar
  32. Marenah, C. B., Lewis, B., Hassall, D., La Ville, A., Cortese, C., Mitchell, W. D., Bruckdorfer, K. R., Slavin, B., Miller, N. E., Ironer, P. R., and Heduan, E., 1983, Hypocholesterolaemia and non-cardiovascular disease: Metabolic studies on subjects with low plasma cholesterol, Br. Med. J. 286: 1603–1606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McMichael, A. J., and Potter, J. D., 1985, Host factors in carcinogenesis: Certain bile acid metabolic profiles that selectively increase the risk of proximal colon cancer, J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 75: 185–191.Google Scholar
  34. McMichael, A. J., Jensen, O. M., Parkin, D. M., and Zaridze, D. G., 1984, Dietary and endogenous cholesterol and human cancer, Epidemiol. Rev. 6: 192–216.Google Scholar
  35. Miller, S. R., Tartter, P. I., Papatestas, A. E., Slater, G., and Aufses, A. H., 1981, Serum cholesterol and human colon cancer, J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 67: 297–300.Google Scholar
  36. Moms, D. L., Borhani, N. O., Fitzsimons, E., Hardy, R. J., Hawkins, C. M., Kraus, J. F., Labarthe, D. R., Mastbaum, L., and Payne, G. H., 1983, Serum cholesterol and cancer in the Hypertension Detection and Follow-up Program, Cancer 52: 1754–1759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Muller, H. G., 1930, The cholesterol metabolism in health and anemia, Medicine 9: 119–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nestel, P. J., 1989, Diet and hyperlipidaemia, In: Clinical Biochemistry-Principles, Methods, Applications. Human Plasma Lipoproteins ( J. C. Fruchart and R. Shephard, eds.), Gruyler, New York, pp. 309–333.Google Scholar
  39. Neugut, A. I., Johnsen, C. M., and Fink, D. J., 1986, Serum cholesterol levels in adenomatous polyps and cancer of the colon. A case–control study, JAMA 255: 365–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. NIH Consensus Conference, 1985, Lowering blood cholesterol to prevent heart disease, JAMA 253: 2080–2086.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nydegger, U. E., and Butler, R. E., 1972, Serum lipoprotein levels in patients with cancer, Cancer Res. 32: 1756–1760.Google Scholar
  42. Oliver, M. F., 1981, Serum cholesterol-The knave of hearts and the joker, Lancet 2: 1090–1095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pearce, M. L., and Dayton, S., 1971, Incidence of cancer in men on a diet high in polyunsaturated fat, Lancet 1: 464–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Peterson, B., Trell, E., and Sternby, N. H., 1981, Low cholesterol level as a risk factor for noncoronary death in middle-aged men, JAMA 245: 2056–2057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Peto, R., Doll, R., Buckley, J. D., and Sporn, M., 1981, Can dietary 13-carotene materially reduce human cancer rates? Nature 290: 201–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Phillips, R. L., 1975, Role of life-style and dietary habits in risk of cancer among Seventh-Day Adventists, Cancer Res. 35: 3513–3522.Google Scholar
  47. Reed, D., Yano, K., and Kagan, A., 1986, Lipids and lipoproteins as predictors of coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer in the Honolulu Heart Program, Am. J. Med. 80: 871–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rose, G., and Shipley, M. J., 1980, Plasma lipids and mortality, a source of error, Lancet 1: 523–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rose, G., Blackburn, H., Keys, A., Taylor, H. L., Kannel, W. B., Paul, O., Reid, D. D., and Stamler, J., 1974, Colon cancer and blood-cholesterol, Lancet 1: 180–183.Google Scholar
  50. Salmond, C. E., Beaglehole, R., and Prior, I. A. M., 1985, Are low cholesterol values associated with excess mortality? Br. Med. J. 290: 422–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Salonen, J. T., 1982, Risk of cancer and death in relation to serum cholesterol: A longitudinal study in an Eastern Finnish population with high overall cholesterol level, Am. J. Epidemiol. 116: 622–630.Google Scholar
  52. Schatzkin, A., Hoover, R. N., Taylor, P. R., Ziegler, R. G., Carter, C. L., Larson, D. B., and Licitra, L. M., 1987, Serum cholesterol and cancer in the NHANES I Epidemiologic followup study, Lancet 11: 298–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sherwin, R. W., Wentworth, D. N., Cutler, J. A., Hulley, S. B., Kuller, L. H., and Stamler, J., 1987, Serum cholesterol levels and cancer mortality in 361622 men screened for the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial, JAMA 257: 943–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sidney, S., Friedman, G. D., and Hiatt, R. A., 1986, Serum cholesterol and large bowel cancer: A case–control study, Am. J. Epidemiol. 124: 33–38.Google Scholar
  55. Smith, A. H., and Hoggard, B. M., 1981, Retinol, carotene, and the cancer/cholesterol association (Letter), Lancet 1: 1371–1372.Google Scholar
  56. Sorlie, P. D., and Feinleib, M., 1982, The serum cholesterol–cancer relationship: An analysis of time trends in the Framingham Study, J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 69: 989–996.Google Scholar
  57. Stemmermann, G. N., Nomura, A. M. Y., Heilbrun, L. K., Pollack, E. S., and Kagan, A., 1981, Serum cholesterol and colon cancer incidence in Hawaiian Japanese men, J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 67: 1179–1182.Google Scholar
  58. Tartter, P. I., Slater, G., Papatestas, A. E., and Aufses, A. H., 1984, Cholesterol, weight, height, Quetelet’s index, and colon cancer recurrence, J. Surg. Oncol. 27: 232–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Thomas, C. B., Duszynski, K. R., and Schaffer, J. W., 1982, Cholesterol levels in young adulthood and subsequent cancer: A preliminary note, Johns Hopkins Med. J. 150: 89–94.Google Scholar
  60. Tomberg, S. A., Holm, L.-E., Carstensen, J. M., and Eklund, G. A., 1986, Risks of cancer of the colon and rectum in relation to serum cholesterol and beta-lipoprotein, N. Engl. J. Med. 315: 1629–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Turpeinen, O., 1979, Effect of cholesterol-lowering diet on mortality from coronary heart disease and other causes, Circulation 59: 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Vitols, S., Gahrton, G., Bjorkholm, M., and Peterson, C., 1985, Hypocholesterolaemia in malignancy due to elevated low-density-lipoprotein-receptor activity in tumour cells: Evidence from studies in patients with leukaemia, Lancet 2: 1150–1154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Walden, R. T., Schaefer, L. E., Lemon, F. R., Sunshine, A., and Wynder, E. L., 1964, Effect of the environment on the serum cholesterol–triglyceride distribution among Seventh-Day Adventists, Am. J. Med. 36: 269–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wallace, R. B., Rost, C., Burmeister, L. F., and Pomrehn, P. R., 1982, Cancer incidence in humans: Relationship to plasma lipids and relative weight, J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 68: 915–918.Google Scholar
  65. Westlund, K., and Nicolaysen, R., 1972, Ten-year mortality and morbidity related to serum cholesterol, Scand. J. Clin. Lab. Invest. 39 (Suppl. 127): 3–24.Google Scholar
  66. Williams, R. R., Sorlie, P. D., Feinleib, M., McNamara, P. M., Kannel, W. B., and Dawber, T. R., 1981, Cancer incidence by levels of cholesterol, JAMA 245: 247–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wingard, D. L., Criqui, M. H., Holdbook, M. J., and Barrett-Connor, E., 1984, Plasma cholesterol and cancer morbidity and mortality in an adult community, J. Chronic Dis. 37: 401–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. World Health Organization, 1985, Primary prevention of coronary heart disease: EURO Reports and Studies, 98, WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  69. Yaari, S., Goldbourt, U., Evan-Zohar, S., and Neufeld, N. H., 1981, Associations of serum high density lipoprotein and total cholesterol with total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in a 7-year prospective study of 10,000 men, Lancet 1: 1011–1014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zaridze, D. G., 1983, Environmental etiology of large bowel cancer, J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 70: 389–400.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony John McMichael
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideSouth Australia

Personalised recommendations