Antioxidant supplementation may reduce incidence of cancer in men

November 22, 2004

CHICAGO - Low-dose antioxidant supplementation may reduce the risk of cancer among men, but not in women, according to an article in the November 22 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

According to the article, antioxidants including beta carotene, ascorbic acid, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc may prevent some of the harmful effects caused by free radicals - reactive molecules produced by metabolism in the body. It has also been suggested that a low dietary intake of antioxidants increases the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Serge Hercberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) and Unite de Surveillance et d'Epidemiologie Nutritionnelle, Paris, and colleagues tested the efficacy of dietary supplementation with a combination of antioxidant vitamins and minerals in reducing the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease among 13,017 French adults. There were 7,876 women aged 35 to 60 years old, and 5,141 men ages 45 to 60 years old included in the study. Participants were randomly assigned to take either a daily capsule containing 120 milligrams of ascorbic acid, 30 milligrams of vitamin E, six milligrams of beta carotene, 100 micrograms of selenium, and 20 milligrams of zinc; or a placebo capsule. Participants were followed-up for a median of 7.5 years.

The researchers found no differences between the antioxidant and placebo group in terms of cancer incidence (4.1 percent of the antioxidant group vs. 4.5 percent of the placebo group), or in cardiovascular disease incidence (2.1 percent for the antioxidant group vs. 2.1 percent for the placebo group) or all-cause death (1.2 percent for the antioxidant group vs. 1.5 percent for the placebo group).

However, when the researchers looked at cancer incidence according to sex, they found a significant protective effect of the antioxidants in men, who were 31 percent less likely to develop cancer than women. A similar trend was seen in men for death rates.

"After 7.5 years, low-dose antioxidant supplementation lowered total cancer incidence and all-cause mortality in men but not in women. Supplementation may be effective in men only because of their lower baseline status of certain antioxidants, especially of beta carotene," the researchers write.

The authors conclude: "... our results suggest that an adequate and well-balanced supplementation of antioxidant nutrients, at doses that might be reached with a healthy diet that includes a high consumption of fruits and vegetables, had protective effects against cancer in men."
-end-
(Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:2335-2342. Available post-embargo at archinternmed.com)

Editor's Note: See article for funding information.

For more information, contact JAMA/Archives Media Relations at 312-464-JAMA (5262) or e-mail mediarelations@jama-archives.org.

To contact Serge Hercberg, M.D., Ph.D., e-mail hercberg@cnam.fr.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.