H Ulmer, W Borena, K Rapp, J Klenk, A Strasak, G Diem, H Concin and G Nagel, VHM & PP Study Group
Obesity has been identified as a major risk factor for such cancer sites as colon, renal, breast, and endometrium (Bianchini et al, 2002; Calle and Kaaks, 2004; Rapp et al, 2005), whereas hypertriglyceridemia is relevant to obesity and insulin resistance (Despres and Lemieux, 2006). Dietary fat intake is a well-established risk factor in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), in which much investigation has involved serum triglyceride (STG) concentrations (Sarwar et al, 2007). The combination of hyper-triglyceridemia and elevated waist circumference has been identified as a phenotype for higher risk of CVD (Kahn and Valdez, 2003).
Usually, fasting triglyceride concentrations are measured, as they are associated with increased mortality and CVD
risk (Brunzell, 2007). However, there is uncertainty with regard to the impact of STG concentrations on risk of CVD (Gotto, 1998 and also with regard to whether fasting level influences the relationship (Langsted et al, 2008). Beyond lipid metabolism there is evidence that hypertriglyceridemia is associated with frequent infections and inflammation (Khovidhunkit et al, 2004; Esteve et al, 2005).
A few cohort studies have investigated high STG concentrations as a part of the metabolic syndrome (Tulinius et al, 1997) in relation to risk of colon (Saydah et al, 2003; Ahmed et al, 2006, Tande et al, 2006), breast (Vatten and Foss, 1990; Furberg et al, 2004), and cervix cancers (Cust et al, 2007). A cohort study among Icelanders (Tulinius et al, 1997) revealed associations between high STG levels and colorectal cancers in both sexes, and also with
thyroid cancer in men, as well as with cervix, endometrial, and bladder cancer in women (Tulinius et al, 1997).
We therefore investigated the associations between fasting STG concentrations and cancer risk in a large prospective cohort study.