Chronic inflammation markers are associated with risk of pancreatic cancer in the Swedish AMORIS cohort study

Sam Sollie, Dominique S Michaud, Debashis Sarker, Sophia N Karagiannis, Debra H Josephs, Niklas Hammar, Aida Santaolalla, Goran Walldius, Hans Garmo, Lars Holmberg, Ingmar Jungner, Mieke Van Hemelrijck

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BACKGROUND: Nested case-control studies examining the association between serum markers of chronic inflammation, focused on three specific biomarkers (CRP, IL-8 and TNF-α), and risk of pancreatic cancer have reported no associations. In this study, we evaluated associations between standard pre-diagnostic serum markers of chronic inflammation (CRP, albumin, haptoglobin and leukocytes) and pancreatic cancer risk in the Swedish Apolipoprotein-related MORtality RISk (AMORIS) prospective cohort study.

METHODS: We selected all participants (≥20 years old) with baseline measurements of CRP, albumin, haptoglobin and leukocytes between 1985 and 1996 (n = 61,597). Participants were excluded if they had a history of chronic pancreatitis and all individuals were free from pancreatic cancer at baseline. Cox proportional multivariable hazards regression analysis was carried out for medical cut-offs of CRP, albumin, haptoglobin and leukocytes.

RESULTS: We observed an increased risk of pancreatic cancer for those individuals with higher levels of serum haptoglobin (≥1.4 g/L), CRP (≥10 mg/L) and leukocytes (≥10 × 109 cells/L) compared to those with haptoglobin levels < 1.4 g/L, CRP levels < 10 mg/L and Leukocyte levels < 10 × 109 cells/L [haptoglobin HR: 2.23 (95% CI 1.72-2.88), CRP HR: 1.32 (95% CI 1.00-1.74), leukocytes HR: 2.20 (95% CI 1.52-3.18)]. No associations were noted for serum albumin.

CONCLUSIONS: We found an increased risk of pancreatic cancer associated with pre-diagnostic serum levels of haptoglobin, CRP and leukocytes. Our finding suggests a possible role of chronic inflammation in the aetiology of pancreatic cancer and highlight the need to further investigate this association.

Original languageEnglish
Article number858
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
Early online date29 Aug 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Aug 2019


  • Albumin
  • CRP
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Haptoglobin
  • Leukocytes
  • Pancreatic cancer


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