Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 291–299 | Cite as

Serum triglycerides and cancer risk in the metabolic syndrome and cancer (Me-Can) collaborative study

  • Wegene Borena
  • Tanja Stocks
  • Håkan Jonsson
  • Susanne Strohmaier
  • Gabriele Nagel
  • Tone Bjørge
  • Jonas Manjer
  • Göran Hallmans
  • Randi Selmer
  • Martin Almquist
  • Christel Häggström
  • Anders Engeland
  • Steinar Tretli
  • Hans Concin
  • Alexander Strasak
  • Pär Stattin
  • Hanno UlmerEmail author
Original paper



To assess the association between serum triglyceride levels and cancer risk.


The metabolic syndrome and cancer project (Me-Can) includes cohorts from Norway, Austria, and Sweden; the current study included data on 257,585 men and 256,512 women. The mean age at study entry was 43.8 years for men and 44.2 years for women. The mean follow-up time was 13.4 years (SD = 8.5) for men and 11.9 years (SD = 7.2) for women. Excluding the first year of follow-up, 23,060 men and 15,686 women were diagnosed with cancer. Cox regression models were used to calculate relative risk (RR) of cancer for triglyceride levels in quintiles and as a continuous variable. RRs were corrected for random error by use of regression dilution ratio.


Relative risk for top quintile versus bottom quintile of triglycerides of overall cancer was 1.16 (95% confidence interval 1.06–1.26) in men and 1.15 (1.05–1.27) in women. For specific cancers, significant increases for top quintile versus bottom quintile of triglycerides among men were found for cancers of the colon, respiratory tract, the kidney, melanoma and thyroid and among women, for respiratory, cervical, and non-melanoma skin cancers.


Data from our study provided evidence for a possible role of serum triglycerides in cancer development.


Lipids Prospective study Cancer incidence 



Funding sources of this study are World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF International) 2007/2009 and the Austrian National Bank Grant OENB-12737 (to H.U.).

Conflict of interest

None declared

Supplementary material

10552_2010_9697_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)
10552_2010_9697_MOESM2_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wegene Borena
    • 1
  • Tanja Stocks
    • 2
  • Håkan Jonsson
    • 3
  • Susanne Strohmaier
    • 1
  • Gabriele Nagel
    • 4
  • Tone Bjørge
    • 5
    • 6
  • Jonas Manjer
    • 7
  • Göran Hallmans
    • 8
  • Randi Selmer
    • 6
  • Martin Almquist
    • 9
  • Christel Häggström
    • 2
  • Anders Engeland
    • 6
    • 5
  • Steinar Tretli
    • 10
  • Hans Concin
    • 11
  • Alexander Strasak
    • 1
  • Pär Stattin
    • 2
  • Hanno Ulmer
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health EconomicsInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Urology and AndrologyUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Department of Radiation Sciences, OncologyUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  4. 4.Institute of EpidemiologyUlm UniversityUlmGermany
  5. 5.Department of Public Health and Primary Health CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  6. 6.Norwegian Institute of Public HealthOslo/BergenNorway
  7. 7.Department of SurgeryMalmö University Hospital, Lund UniversityMalmöSweden
  8. 8.Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Nutritional ResearchUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  9. 9.Department of SurgeryLund University Hospital, Lund UniversityMalmöSweden
  10. 10.Cancer Registry of Norway, Institute of Population-Based Cancer ResearchOsloNorway
  11. 11.Agency for Preventive and Social MedicineBregenzAustria

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