Association of premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease with higher risk of cancer: A behavioral risk factor surveillance system study

Document Type



Office of the Provost; Cardiology


Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate a possible association between atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and risk of cancer in young adults.
Methods: We utilized data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationally representative US telephone-based survey to identify participants in the age group of 18-55 years who reported a history of ASCVD. These patients were defined as having premature ASCVD. Weighted multivariable logistic regression models were used to study the association between premature ASCVD and cancer including various cancer subtypes.
Results: Between 2016 and 2019, we identified 28 522 (3.3%) participants with a history of premature ASCVD. Compared with patients without premature ASCVD, individuals with premature ASCVD were more likely to be Black adults, have lower income, lower levels of education, reside in states without Medicaid expansion, have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, obesity, and had delays in seeking medical care. Individuals with premature ASCVD were more likely to have been diagnosed with any form of cancer (13.7% vs 3.9%), and this association remained consistent in multivariable models (odds ratio, 95% confidence interval: 2.08 [1.72-2.50], P < 0.01); this association was significant for head and neck (21.08[4.86-91.43], P < 0.01), genitourinary (18.64 [3.69-94.24], P < 0.01), and breast cancer (3.96 [1.51-10.35], P < 0.01). Furthermore, this association was consistent when results were stratified based on gender and race, and in sensitivity analysis using propensity score matching.
Conclusion: Premature ASCVD is associated with a higher risk of cancer. These data have important implications for the design of strategies to prevent ASCVD and cancer in young adults.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University


European journal of preventive cardiology