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The association of dyslipidemia with chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a population-based study


Background — Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a risk factor for development of cancer. Because aberrant lipid metabolism is a pathogenic feature of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), our objective was to determine if CLL patients have a higher prevalence of MetS preceding diagnosis and to determine the impact of lipid-lowering medications on survival.

Methods — We conducted a population-based case-control study in Ontario, Canada, using administrative databases of adults age 66 years and older to compare the prevalence of MetS preceding CLL with age- and sex-matched control subjects. Logistic regression was used to study the association between MetS and its components to CLL. The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox Regression were used to investigate survival. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results — We identified 2124 persons with CLL and 7935 control subjects from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2005, with follow-up until March 31, 2014, three years from the date of last contact with the healthcare system, or death. The mean age was 75.6 years, 20.2% had diabetes, 35.8% had hypertension, and 17.6% had dyslipidemia. In multivariable analysis, dyslipidemia (odds ratio [OR] = 1.26, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11 to 1.44, P < .001) and hypertension (OR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.25, P = .03) were associated with the development of CLL, whereas MetS and diabetes were not. Lipid-lowering medication was associated with a statistically significant improved survival in patients with CLL (HR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.47 to 0.61, P < .001).

Conclusions — We demonstrate a higher prevalence of dyslipidemia preceding a diagnosis of CLL compared with control subjects, supporting preclinical data. Lipid-lowering medications appear to confer a survival advantage in CLL. Prospective studies are needed to confirm these results and test their potential as therapeutic applications.



Mozessohn L, Earle C, Spaner D, Cheng SY, Kumar M, Buckstein R. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017; 109(3):1-9. Epub 2016 Oct 17.

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