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Lower HDL, Higher Cancer Risk?

Overweight women with low levels of HDL cholesterol seem to have a higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, according to Norwegian researchers who analyzed registry data that tracked the health of some 39,000 women over two decades.

That doesn't mean the good cholesterol, which protects against heart disease, plays an active role in cancer. But it might signal which women harbor excess hormones, called androgens, which are linked to breast cancer but hard to measure, researchers concluded.

Researchers also found no relationship between total cholesterol and breast cancer. But overweight women with the highest levels of HDL cholesterol were almost one-third less likely to get postmenopausal breast cancer than similar women with low HDL.

The American Cancer Institute disputed the results because women of normal weight can also have low HDL levels although Norwegian researchers found the cancer link in overweight women.

Yahoo News August 4, 2004

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