Fasting Serum Levels of Potassium and Sodium in Relation to Long-Term Risk of Cancer in Healthy Men
Received 20 May 2019
Accepted for publication 30 September 2019
Published 9 January 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 1—8
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 4
Editor who approved publication: Professor Irene Petersen
Ragnhild S Falk,1 Trond Heir,2,3 Trude E Robsahm,4 Steinar Tretli,4 Leiv Sandvik,1 Jan E Erikssen,2 Jan E Paulsen5
1Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; 2Oslo Ischemia study, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; 3Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; 4Department of Research, Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway; 5Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo, Norway
Correspondence: Ragnhild S Falk
Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Oslo University Hospital, Pb 4950 Nydalen, Oslo 0424, Norway
Tel +47 23 06 60 13
Purpose: To examine whether serum levels of potassium and sodium were associated with long-term cancer risk in initially healthy men.
Patients and Methods: A cohort of 1994 initially healthy men with no use of medication, aged 40–59 years, was followed for cancer during 40 years of follow-up. Associations between fasting electrolyte levels and cancer risk were assessed with incidence rates and Cox proportional hazards models.
Results: Potassium, but not sodium, was linearly associated with cancer risk. This association remained significant after adjustment of several potential confounding factors, and also after excluding the first 10 years of follow-up. The age-adjusted risk of all-site cancer increased with 16% for each SD increase in potassium level. Men with hyperkalemia showed an incidence rate that was 40% higher than for men with normal potassium levels.
Conclusion: Fasting serum potassium level in healthy men was positively associated with long-term cancer risk. Potassium or potassium ion channels may have a role in cell proliferation or differentiation. These findings might imply future cancer strategies for targeting individuals with high serum potassium levels.
Keywords: cancer incidence, cell proliferation, electrolyte levels, epidemiology, prospective cohort study
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