(HealthDay News) – Elevated serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), a marker of chronic inflammation, correlate with increased mortality from all causes and cancer in men but not in women.

To examine the correlation between serum hs-CRP levels and all-cause, cancer, and site-specific cancer mortality, Young-Jin Ko, of the Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study involving 33,567 apparently cancer-free Korean adults who underwent routine check-ups and measurement of serum hs-CRP levels between May 1995 and December 2006.

During an average follow-up of 9.4 years, the researchers found that men with an hs-CRP level of ≥3mg/L vs. ≤1mg/L had an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.38 for all-cause mortality and 1.61 for cancer-related mortality. For women, the corresponding adjusted hazard ratios were 1.29 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.94–1.77) and 1.24 (95% CI, 0.75–2.06), respectively. For both sexes combined, elevated hs-CRP correlated with an increased risk of site-specific mortality for lung cancer (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.53).

“In the future, assessment of the level of serum hs-CRP, a marker of chronic low-grade inflammation, might help identify subjects at increased risk of cancer death,” the authors write.

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