HDL-Cholesterol and Incidence of Breast Cancer in the ARIC Cohort Study

Anna M. Kucharska-Newton, Wayne D. Rosamond, Pamela J. Mink, Anthony J. Alberg, Eyal Shahar, Aaron R. Folsom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Purpose: An association of low plasma HDL-cholesterol with risk of breast cancer has been suggested by multiple studies; the evidence, however, is not conclusive. We examined the possible association of low HDL-cholesterol with incidence of breast cancer using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) cohort, a prospective study of a randomly selected sample of women and men from four U.S. communities. Methods: Among 7,575 female members of the ARIC cohort, 359 cases of incident breast cancer were ascertained during the follow-up from 1987 through 2000. Results: In analysis adjusted for age, race, body mass index, smoking, and reproductive variables, we observed no association of low baseline HDL-cholesterol (<50 mg/dL) with incident breast cancer in the total sample (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.08 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.84-1.40]) and a modest association (HR = 1.67 [95% CI, 1.06-2.63]) among women who were premenopausal at baseline. No association was observed among women who were postmenopausal at baseline. Removal from analysis of the first 5 years of follow-up did not appreciably change the observed associations. Conclusion: Results of our study suggest that low HDL-cholesterol among premenopausal women may be a marker of increased breast cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-677
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study is carried out as a collaborative study supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts N01-HC-55015, N01-HC-55016, N01-HC-55018, N01-HC-55019, N01-HC-55020, N01-HC-55021, and N01-HC-55022.


  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Cholesterol
  • Cohort Studies
  • HDL
  • Incidence


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