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Antioxidants, carotenoids, and risk of rectal cancer

Numerous properties suggest that antioxidants and carotenoids may be valuable chemopreventive agents. A population-based case-control study of 952 rectal cancer cases and 1,205 controls from Northern California and Utah was conducted between September 1997 and February 2002. Detailed diet history, medical history, and lifestyle factors interviews were conducted. Dietary antioxidants were not associated with rectal cancer risk in men. For women, relative to the highest level of intake, low intake of dietary lycopene (odds ratio (OR) = 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0, 2.8) or vitamin E (OR = 2.2, 95% CI: 1.1, 4.3) was associated with an increased risk of rectal cancer. Alpha-, beta-, and gamma-tocopherol were associated with an approximate twofold increased risk of rectal cancer in women. Associations were stronger for women aged > or = 60 years for vitamin E and tocopherols (alpha-tocopherol OR = 3.6, 95% CI: 1.4, 9.4; gamma-tocopherol OR = 5.3, 95% CI: 2.1, 13.2; delta-tocopherol OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 0.9, 4.0), except for beta-tocopherol, for which risk increased twofold for all women. Associations differed by estrogen status for beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamin E. These results suggest that vitamin E and lycopene may modestly reduce the risk of rectal cancer in women.

Authors: Murtaugh MA; Ma KN; Benson J; Curtin K; Caan B; Slattery ML

Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Jan 1;159(1):32-41.

PubMed abstract

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