C-reactive protein (CRP) associated with risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, vascular mortality, and death from several cancers and lung disease

Associations of C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration with risk of major diseases can best be assessed by long-term prospective follow-up of large numbers of people.

This Lancet meta-analysis included records of 160,309 people without a history of vascular disease from 54 long-term prospective studies.

Risk ratios (RRs) were 1·23 for coronary heart disease; 1·32 for ischaemic stroke; 1·34 for vascular mortality; and 1·34 for non-vascular mortality.

CRP concentration has continuous associations with the risk of:

- coronary heart disease
- ischaemic stroke
- vascular mortality
- death from several cancers and lung disease

The relevance of CRP to such a range of disorders is unclear. Associations with ischaemic vascular disease depend considerably on conventional risk factors and other markers of inflammation.

Is is still a topic of debate is whether CRP has a causal role in the development of cardiovascular disease.

However, even if CRP might not be involved in the causal pathway of atherogenesis and plaque rupture, it may still be a valuable tool in cardiovascular medicine.

In primary prevention, lovastatin therapy was more cost effective in people with increased CRP concentrations.

The JUPITER trial recently showed that, in people with relatively normal LDL cholesterol concentrations and CRP higher than 2 mg/L, rosuvastatin reduced cardiovascular risk. Even if CRP turns out to be not directly causal in cardiovascular disease, it might be useful to identify individuals at cardiovascular risk and to evaluate the efficacy of our preventing and therapeutic interventions.

New Cardiovascular Prevention Guidelines, 2013. Cleveland Clinic physicians, Dr. Rocco and Dr. Nissen answer questions about AHA/ACC Heart and Stroke Risk Factor Guidelines & what they mean for you on this spreecast video chat. (12/2013)


C-reactive protein concentration and risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and mortality: an individual participant meta-analysis. The Lancet, Volume 375, Issue 9709, Pages 132 - 140, 9 January 2010.
C-reactive protein and cardiovascular risk: more fuel to the fire. S Matthijs Boekholdt a b, John JP Kastelein b. The Lancet, Volume 375, Issue 9709, Pages 95 - 96, 9 January 2010.
C reactive protein concentration itself is unlikely to be even a modest causal factor in coronary heart disease - BMJ, 2011. http://goo.gl/d5lCH
Image source: C-reactive protein. Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

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