Serum triglyceride concentrations and cancer risk in a large cohort study in Austria

Br J Cancer. 2009 Oct 6;101(7):1202-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605264. Epub 2009 Aug 18.


Background: Blood lipid levels as part of the metabolic syndrome are thought to be linked to cancer risk. Few epidemiological studies have addressed the association between serum triglyceride (STG) concentrations and cancer risk.

Methods: Serum triglyceride concentrations were collected in a health investigation (1988-2003). The analyses included 156 153 subjects (71 693 men and 84 460 women), with 5079 incident cancers in men and 4738 cancers in women, and an average of 10.6 years of follow-up. All malignancies were ascertained from the population cancer registry. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard models stratified by age and sex were used to determine adjusted cancer risk estimates and 95% confidence interval (95% CI).

Results: In men and women combined, higher STG concentrations were associated with increased risk of lung (4th vs 1st quartile: HR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.47-2.54), rectal (HR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.00-2.44), and thyroid cancer (HR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.00-3.84). Serum triglyceride concentrations were inversely associated with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In men, STG concentrations were inversely associated with prostate cancer and positively with renal cancer. In women, STG concentrations were positively associated with gynaecological cancers. Stratification by BMI revealed a higher risk of gynaecological cancers in overweight than in normal weight women. No other associations were found.

Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that STG concentrations are involved in the pathogenesis of lung, rectal, thyroid, prostate, and gynaecological cancers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Triglycerides