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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Nov;21(11):2076-86. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-0611.

High-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels and cancer mortality.

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Department of Family Medicine, Center for Health Promotion, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea.



High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is an important inflammatory marker, and inflammation is known to be involved in the initiation and progression of cancer. We investigated the association between serum hs-CRP levels and all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, and site-specific cancer mortality in apparently cancer-free Koreans.


A total of 33,567 participants who underwent routine check-ups at a single tertiary hospital health-screening center between May 1995 and December 2006, and whose serum hs-CRP level data were available, were included in the study. Baseline serum hs-CRP levels were obtained and subjects were followed up for mortality from baseline examination until December 31, 2008.


During an average follow-up of 9.4 years, 1,054 deaths, including 506 cancer deaths, were recorded. The adjusted HRs (aHR; 95% confidence interval [CI]) of subjects with hs-CRP ≥3 mg/L for all-cause and cancer-related mortality were 1.38 (1.15-1.66) and 1.61 (1.25-2.07) in men, and 1.29 (0.94-1.77) and 1.24 (0.75-2.06) in women, respectively, compared with subjects with hs-CRP ≤1 mg/L. Elevated hs-CRP was also associated with an increased risk of site-specific mortality from lung cancer for sexes combined (2.53 [1.57-4.06]).


This study suggests that elevated levels of hs-CRP in apparently cancer-free individuals may be associated with increased mortality from all-causes and cancer, in particular, lung cancer in men, but not in women.


As a marker for chronic inflammation, hs-CRP assists in the identification of subjects with an increased risk of cancer death.

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