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Ethn Dis. 2012 Summer;22(3):281-7.

Cholesterol, lipoproteins, and breast cancer risk in African American women.

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Department of Oncology, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA.



Lipid levels, including high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglycerides, have been reported to be associated with breast cancer risk.


We studied African American women (97 breast cancer cases and 102 controls) accrued through a population-based, case-control study in the Washington, DC metropolitan area during 1997 and 1998. Plasma lipid levels were measured using enzymatic methods. Logistic regressions (adjusted for age, age at menarche, parity, previous alcohol consumption, and education) were used to explore the associations between lipid levels and breast cancer.


Through multivariable-adjusted regression, we observed a significant inverse association between breast cancer risk and increasing levels of total cholesterol (OR=.46, 95% Cl = .25-.85) and LDL (OR = .41, 95% CI = .21-.81), whereas lower levels of HDL were associated with a significant increase in risk (OR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.06-3.74).


Our data demonstrate significant reductions in breast cancer risk with high levels of total cholesterol and significant increase in risk when HDL levels are low. These data are in support of a protective effect of cholesterol which has been reported in other populations; further, these findings add to the literature in an understudied population, African American women.

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