Elevated levels of liver enzymes are linked to higher rates of cancer and other diseases, according to a new study.
Elevated blood levels of one of the enzymes, acetyl CoA reductase, also play a role in heart disease, the study found.
A report released Monday found that the U.S. cancer death rate has nearly tripled over the past 20 years.
It said the number of people diagnosed with cancer and deaths from other diseases has more than doubled since the early 1990s.
While the link between elevated liver enzymes and cancer is well established, the researchers said their findings also offer hope that the problem could be treated by improving the diet and lifestyle choices people make.
“People are consuming a lot of food with acetylCoA and they’re not eating a lot with the rest of their diets,” said Dr. John P. Naylor, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado.
“If we can do that, we can get this problem under control.”
More than half of the 1.3 million cancer patients treated in the U,C.R.I., are taking a statin, or a drug that inhibits the production of the hormone that promotes cancer cell growth, the report said.
For years, statins have been touted as a treatment for heart disease and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
But the drugs have had an adverse reaction, including heart attacks and strokes.
Since the 1990s, researchers have been trying to figure out what the role of acetyl-CoA reducase is in cancer.
The researchers have known that people with elevated liver levels have a higher risk of heart disease.
They found that people who had more liver enzyme abnormalities had higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
They also found that when people with higher levels of the enzyme were taking statins, the drugs also increased the risk for these conditions.
In addition, acetate, an intermediate metabolite in the body, can also lower blood levels and boost the activity of liver enzyme enzymes.
That could be a key factor in the increased risk for some cancers, the scientists said.
They believe that because the risk of cardiovascular disease increases when people have elevated liver enzyme, people who are at higher risk are more likely to be predisposed to heart disease because they have a greater amount of acetate in their bodies.
But it is also possible that the liver enzyme problems are more common in people who have other conditions, such as a liver cancer, the team said.
In one study, the results of a study by Naylor and colleagues showed that people living in Appalachia, where elevated levels of acetates are common, had more than twice the risk, or risk, of heart attack, stroke and liver cancer compared with people living farther away from the Appalachians.
The findings also suggest that the link to cancer may be more complex than previously thought, said Dr, Jennifer H. Noll, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo Clinic.
“We need to look at what factors are related to increased liver enzymes in people that may be a risk factor,” Noll said.