Background and aims: Inconsistent findings have been reported on the association between high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and mortality risk. The objective of this meta-analysis was to investigate the association of elevated baseline hs-CRP levels with all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality risk in the general population.
Methods: PubMed and Embase were systematically searched for studies published from inception to October 2016. Prospective observational studies were eligible if they reported the effects of elevated baseline hs-CRP levels on cancer-related, cardiovascular or all-cause mortality in the general population. The pooled adjusted risk ratio (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) comparing the highest to the lowest category of hs-CRP levels was used as association measures.
Results: A total of 83,995 participants from 14 studies were identified. When comparing the highest to the lowest category of hs-CRP levels, the pooled RR was 1.25 (95% CI 1.13-1.38) for cancer-related mortality, 2.03 (95% CI 1.65-2.50) for cardiovascular mortality, and 1.75 (1.55-1.98) for all-cause mortality, respectively. Subgroup analysis showed that the effect of elevated hs-CRP levels on cancer-related mortality was observed in men (RR 1.26; 95% CI 1.11-1.43) but not in women (RR 1.03; 95% CI 0.83-1.27).
Conclusions: Elevated hs-CRP levels can independently predict risk of all-cause, cardiovascular mortality in the general population. However, the gender differences in the predictive role of hs-CRP on cancer mortality should to be further investigated.
Keywords: All-cause mortality; Cardiovascular mortality; High-sensitivity C-reactive protein; Meta-analysis.
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