Introduction Hyperlipidaemia is a well -established cardiovascular risk factor but the effect of hyperlipidaemia and treatment with cholesterol-lowering drugs on cancer remain equivocal. We aimed to investigate the impact of comorbid diagnosis of hyperlipidaemia amongst patients with the four most prevalent cancer types in the United Kingdom (Lung, Breast, Prostate and Bowel). We did this using a large database of patients admitted with comorbid hyperlipidaemia to hospitals in the North of England, UK between 2000–2013.
Methods Anonymous information on patients with a primary diagnosis of lung, breast, prostate and bowel cancers were obtained from hospitals in North England, UK between 1st January 2000 and 31st March 2013. This data was analysed according to the ACALM (Algorithm for Comorbidities, Associations, Length of stay and Mortality) study protocol. ICD-10 and OPCS-4 codes were used to trace patients coded for cancer, patient demographics, prevalence of hyperlipidaemia and mortality data. The impact of hyperlipidaemia on mortality in cancer patients was analysed by cox regression adjusted for age, gender and ethnicity. P values of <0.05 were taken as statistically significant.
Results 929552 patients were admitted during the study period. Of these 7997 had lung cancer, 5481 had breast cancer, 4629 had prostate cancer, and 4570 had bowel cancer. Comorbid diagnoses of hyperlipidaemia significantly reduced mortality amongst patients with all four cancer types studied. Cox regression analyses accounting for differences in age, gender and ethnicity showed that hyperlipidaemia was associated with a significantly reduced mortality rate in lung cancer (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.70–0.87), breast cancer (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.43–0.77), prostate cancer (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.50–0.79) and bowel cancer (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.58–0.84).
Conclusion We have demonstrated for the first time that comorbid hyperlipidaemia has a highly protective effect on mortality amongst patients with the four most prevalent cancers in the UK. The underlying reasons for this are yet to be determined but treatment with statins may contribute. This potentially beneficial effect of lipid-lowering medications amongst cancer patients should be further investigated.
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