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Low Levels of "Good" Cholesterol Associated With Increased Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk

Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol--the "good" cholesterol--are associated with an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in overweight and obese women, according to a new study.

Low HDL cholesterol is a component of metabolic syndrome, which is also characterized by obesity, glucose intolerance, and hypertension. Both metabolic syndrome and breast cancer have been increasing worldwide. Increased levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor in metabolic syndrome have been linked to breast cancer, but the role of other biomarkers, such as HDL cholesterol is not known.

Anne-Sofie Furberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Troms in Norway, and colleagues analyzed data from a Norwegian cohort of nearly 39,000 women over a follow-up period of 21 years. Low levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in women who were overweight or obese. The association was strongest in women who gained weight over the years of follow-up.


  • Anne-Sofie Furberg, Institute of Community Medicine, University of Troms, 47-99-41-4007, anne-sofie.furberg@ism.uit.no
  • Inger Thune, Institute of Community Medicine, 47 91 37 27 17, inger.thune@ism.uit.no

    HER-2/neu Overexpression in Breast Cancer Does Not Adversely Influence Response to First-Line Chemotherapy

    Breast cancer patients with tumors that overexpress the gene HER-2/neu are more likely to have a poor clinical outcome. A new study finds that HER-2/neu overexpression does not lead to a poorer response to chemotherapy in women with metastatic breast cancer.

    There is some evidence that HER-2/neu overexpression is associated with a better response to anthracycline-based chemotherapy, b

  • Contact: Sarah L. Zielinski
    Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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