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Cancer and Serum Cholesterol Levels

Zwi N. Berneman, MD; Robert Colebunders, MD
JAMA. 1983;250(4):483. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340040027013.
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To the Editor.—  In a recent international epidemiologic study about serum cholesterol levels and death risk from cancer (1982;248:2853), it was concluded that the lower cholesterol levels, found in first-year cancer decedents, are caused by the disease itself and not the contrary. There are also some clinical arguments for this hypothesis, especially in the hematologic field. A well-known relationship exists between low cholesterol levels, unrelated to nutritional status, and disease activity in myeloproliferative disorders,1 myeloma, and Waldenström's macroglobulinemia.2,3 Successful treatment of these disorders, by therapy means that have no known direct effects on cholesterol metabolism, is characterized by a return to normal of the cholesterol level.1-3 It would be interesting to see if the same phenomenon occurs after successful treatment of advanced non-hematologic neoplasms.


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