Journal Article

Plasma Carotenoids, Retinol, and Tocopherols and Risk of Breast Cancer

Rulla M. Tamimi, Susan E. Hankinson, Hannia Campos, Donna Spiegelman, Shumin Zhang, Graham A. Colditz, Walter C. Willett and David J. Hunter

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 161, issue 2, pages 153-160
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Plasma Carotenoids, Retinol, and Tocopherols and Risk of Breast Cancer

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The roles of carotenoids, retinol, and tocopherols in breast cancer etiology have been inconclusive. The authors prospectively assessed the relations between plasma α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein/zeaxanthin, retinol, α-tocopherol, and γ-tocopherol and breast cancer risk by conducting a nested case-control study using plasma collected from women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study. A total of 969 cases of breast cancer diagnosed after blood draw and prior to June 1, 1998, were individually matched to controls. The multivariate risk of breast cancer was 25–35% less for women with the highest quintile compared with that for women with the lowest quintile of α-carotene (odds ratio (OR) = 0.64, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.47, 0.88; ptrend = 0.01), β-carotene (OR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.53, 1.02; ptrend = 0.01), lutein/zeaxanthin (OR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.55, 1.01; ptrend = 0.04), and total carotenoids (OR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.55, 1.05; ptrend = 0.05). The inverse association observed with α-carotene and breast cancer was greater for invasive cancers with nodal metastasis. The authors conclude that some carotenoids are inversely associated with breast cancer. Although the association was strongest for α-carotene, the high degree of collinearity among plasma carotenoids limits our ability to conclude that this association is specific to any individual carotenoid.

Keywords: breast neoplasms; carotenoids; oxidative stress; tocopherols; vitamin A; CI, confidence interval; LRT, likelihood ratio test; OR, odds ratio.

Journal Article.  6379 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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