THURSDAY, June 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Low cholesterol levels may increase kidney cancer patients' risk of death, a new study suggests.
The findings indicate that cholesterol testing may help guide treatment for kidney cancer patients, the study authors said.
They analyzed cholesterol levels in 867 kidney cancer patients before they had surgery for their cancer and followed them for a median of 52 months after surgery. Low cholesterol levels before surgery were associated with more advanced cancer and greater cancer spread after surgery.
The investigators also found that patients with high cholesterol levels were 43 percent less likely to die after surgery than those with low cholesterol levels, and that assessing cholesterol levels improved the accuracy of patients' prognoses.
While the study found an association between low cholesterol levels and a raised death risk among kidney cancer patients, it did not prove a conclusive link between the two.
It's not clear how cholesterol levels may affect kidney cancer patients' chances of survival, but certain components of cholesterol may influence tumor growth and spread, according to the authors of the study published June 12 in the journal BJU International.
"As this was a hypothesis-generating study, our findings should be confirmed in [future research]. If confirmed, patients with low cholesterol may be considered high-risk and may be treated or followed up more aggressively," Dr. Tobias Klatte, of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, said in a journal news release.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about kidney cancer.