Dietary β-carotene, vitamin C and E intake and breast cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)

Institute of Epidemiology, Ulm University, Helmholtzstr.22, 89081 Ulm, Germany.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (Impact Factor: 3.94). 07/2009; 119(3):753-65. DOI: 10.1007/s10549-009-0444-8
Source: PubMed


So far, studies on dietary antioxidant intake, including beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, and breast cancer risk are inconclusive. Thus, we addressed this question in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. During a median follow-up time of 8.8 years, 7,502 primary invasive breast cancer cases were identified. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). All analyses were run stratified by menopausal status at recruitment and, additionally, by smoking status, alcohol intake, use of exogenous hormones and use of dietary supplements. In the multivariate analyses, dietary intake of beta-carotene, vitamin C and E was not associated with breast cancer risk in premenopausal [highest vs. lowest quintile: HR, 1.04 (95% CI, 0.85-1.27), 1.12 (0.92-1.36) and 1.11 (0.84-1.46), respectively] and postmenopausal women [0.93 (0.82-1.04), 0.98 (0.87-1.11) and 0.92 (0.77-1.11), respectively]. However, in postmenopausal women using exogenous hormones, high intake of beta-carotene [highest vs. lowest quintile; HR 0.79 (95% CI, 0.66-0.96), P (trend) 0.06] and vitamin C [0.88 (0.72-1.07), P (trend) 0.05] was associated with reduced breast cancer risk. In addition, dietary beta-carotene was associated with a decreased risk in postmenopausal women with high alcohol intake. Overall, dietary intake of beta-carotene, vitamin C and E was not related to breast cancer risk in neither pre- nor postmenopausal women. However, in subgroups of postmenopausal women, a weak protective effect between beta-carotene and vitamin E from food and breast cancer risk cannot be excluded.

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    • "With regards to the healthy functions of a-and b-carotenes, both play important roles in the biosynthesis of vitamin A which is an essential factor for cellular reproduction, normal development of embryo and foetus, and visual functions (Grune et al., 2010; Zile, 1998). In addition, topical application of b-carotene provided protection for the human skin when exposed to infra-red radiation (Darvin et al., 2011), and dietary intake of b-carotene was not related to breast cancer risk in neither pre-nor postmenopausal women (Nagel et al., 2010). However, a review indicated that nutritional prevention of cancer through b-carotene supplementation should not be recommended because b-carotene supplementation has not been shown to have any beneficial effect on cancer prevention or even it is associated with increased risk of lung cancer and gastric cancer under certain conditions (Druesne-Pecollo et al., 2010). "
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    • "), and the recent European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) analysis involving the pooling of data from 10 European countries (highest vs. lowest quintile HR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.87–1.11) (Nagel et al 2010 "
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