HDL-cholesterol and the incidence of lung cancer in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study

Anna M. Kucharska-Newton, Wayne D. Rosamond, Jane C. Schroeder, Ann Marie McNeill, Josef Coresh, Aaron R. Folsom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


This study examined prospectively the association of baseline plasma HDL-cholesterol levels with incidence of lung cancer in 14,547 members of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort. There were 259 cases of incident lung cancer identified during follow-up from 1987 through 2000. Results of this study indicated a relatively weak inverse association of HDL-cholesterol with lung cancer that was dependent on smoking status. The hazard ratio of lung cancer incidence in relation to low HDL-cholesterol, adjusted for race, gender, exercise, alcohol consumption, body mass index, triglycerides, age, and cigarette pack-years of smoking, was 1.45 (95% confidence interval 1.10, 1.92). This association was observed among former smokers (hazard ratio: 1.77, 95% confidence interval 1.05, 2.97), but not current smokers. The number of cases among never smokers in this study was too small (n = 13) for meaningful interpretation of effect estimates. Excluding cases occurring within 5 years of baseline did not appreciably change the point estimates, suggesting lack of reverse causality. The modest association of low plasma HDL-cholesterol with greater incident lung cancer observed in this study is in agreement with existing case-control studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-300
Number of pages9
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number3
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. The authors thank the staff and participants of the ARIC study for their important contributions.


  • Cohort studies
  • HDL-cholesterol
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lung neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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