Association of baseline inflammatory biomarkers with cancer mortality in the REGARDS cohort

Tomi Akinyemiju, Justin X. Moore, Maria Pisu, Michael Goodman, Virginia J. Howard, Monika Safford, Susan C. Gilchrist, Mary Cushman, Leann Long, Suzanne E. Judd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study examines the association between inflammatory biomarkers and risk of cancer mortality by race. Data were obtained from 1,856 participants in the prospective REGARDS cohort who were cancer-free at baseline, and analyzed in relation to cancer mortality prospectively. Biomarkers were log-transformed and categorized into tertiles due to non-normal distributions, and Cox proportional hazard regression models were utilized to compute hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals using robust sandwich methods. Individuals in the highest tertile of IL-6 had over a 12-fold increased risk of cancer mortality (HR: 12.97, 95% CI: 3.46-48.63); those in the highest tertile of IL-8 had over a 2-fold increased risk of cancer mortality (HR: 2.21, 95% CI: 0.86- 5.71), while those in the highest tertile of IL-10 had over a 3-fold increased risk of cancer mortality (HR: 3.06, 95% CI: 1.35-6.89). In race-stratified analysis, each unit increase in IL-6 was associated with increased risk of cancer mortality among African- Americans (HR: 3.88, 95% CI: 1.17-12.88) and Whites (5.25, 95% CI: 1.24-22.31). If replicated in larger, racially diverse prospective cohorts, these results suggest that cancer patients may benefit from clinical or lifestyle approaches to regulate systemic inflammation as a cancer prevention strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4857-4867
Number of pages11
Issue number47
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The REGARDS study was supported by cooperative agreement U01-NS041588 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Service. The authors thank the other investigators, the staff, and the participants of the REGARDS study for their valuable contributions. A full list of participating REGARDS investigators and institutions can be found at http://www. This analysis was supported by award R01-NR012726 from the National Institute for Nursing Research, UL1-RR025777 from the National Center for Research Resources, K08HL096841 and R01HL080477 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and by grants from the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Akinyemiju was supported by grant K01TW010271 from the NIH. Dr.Moore was supported by grants R25CA47888 and T32CA190194 from the National Cancer Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies. Representatives of the funding agencies have been involved in the review of the manuscript but not directly involved in the collection, management, analysis or interpretation of the data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Impact Journals LLC. All rights reserved.


  • Cancer mortality
  • Inflammatory biomarkers
  • Obesity
  • Racial disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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