The association of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) with mortality is controversial. We aimed to investigate the associations of hsCRP concentrations with the risks of all-cause and cause-specific mortality and identify potential modifying factors affecting these associations among middle-aged and elderly individuals.
This community-based prospective cohort study included 14,220 participants aged 50+ years (mean age: 64.9 years) from the Health and Retirement Study. Cox proportional hazard models were employed to estimate the associations between the hsCRP concentrations and the risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality with adjustment for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, self-reported medical history, and other potential confounders.
In total, 1730 all-cause deaths were recorded, including 725 cardiovascular- and 417 cancer-related deaths, after an 80,572 person-year follow-up (median: 6.4 years; range: 3.6–8.1 years). The comparisons of the groups with the highest (quartile 4) and lowest (quartile 1) hsCRP concentrations revealed that the adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were 1.50 (1.31–1.72) for all-cause mortality, 1.44 (1.13–1.82) for cardiovascular mortality, and 1.67 (1.23–2.26) for cancer mortality. The associations between high hsCRP concentrations and the risks of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality were similar in the men and women (P for interaction > 0.05).
Among middle-aged and older individuals, elevated hsCRP concentration could increase the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in men and women.