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Journal of Cancer Epidemiology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 823849, 12 pages
Review Article

Serum Lipid Profiles and Cancer Risk in the Context of Obesity: Four Meta-Analyses

1Cancer Epidemiology Group, Division of Cancer Studies, King’s College London, School of Medicine, 3rd Floor, Bermondsey Wing, Guy’s Hospital, London SE1 9RT, UK
2Regional Cancer Centre, Uppsala University Hospital, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden
3Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden
4Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of Cancer, Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine, University of Zurich, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland
5Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA
6Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
7Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, 7 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
8Division of Cancer Studies, School of Medicine, King’s College London, 3rd Floor, Bermondsey Wing, Guy’s Hospital, London SE1 9RT, UK

Received 16 August 2012; Revised 26 October 2012; Accepted 2 November 2012

Academic Editor: Thomas E. Rohan

Copyright © 2013 Jennifer C. Melvin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The objective here was to summarize the evidence for, and quantify the link between, serum markers of lipid metabolism and risk of obesity-related cancers. PubMed and Embase were searched using predefined inclusion criteria to conduct meta-analyses on the association between serum levels of TG, TC, HDL, ApoA-I, and risk of 11 obesity-related cancers. Pooled relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using random-effects analyses. 28 studies were included. Associations between abnormal lipid components and risk of obesity-related cancers when using clinical cutpoints ( ; ; ; ) were apparent in all models. RRs were 1.18 (95% CI: 1.08–1.29) for TC, 1.20 (1.07–1.35) for TG, 1.15 (1.01–1.32) for HDL, and 1.42 (1.17–1.74) for ApoA-I. High levels of TC and TG, as well as low levels of HDL and ApoA-I, were consistently associated with increased risk of obesity-related cancers. The modest RRs suggest serum lipids to be associated with the risk of cancer, but indicate it is likely that other markers of the metabolism and/or lifestyle factors may also be involved. Future intervention studies involving lifestyle modification would provide insight into the potential biological role of lipid metabolism in tumorigenesis.