The risk of developing lung cancer associated with antioxidants in the blood: Ascorbic acid, carotenoids, α-tocopherol, selenium, and total peroxyl radical absorbing capacity

George W. Comstock, Anthony J. Alberg, Han Yao Huang, Kana Wu, Alyce E. Burke, Sandra C. Hoffman, Edward P. Norkus, Myron Gross, Richard G. Cutler, J. Steven Morris, Vickie L. Spate, Kathy J. Helzlsouer

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114 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lung cancer cases diagnosed during the period 1975 through 1993 and matched controls were identified in the rosters of Washington County, Maryland residents who had donated blood for a serum bank in 1974 or 1989. Plasma from participants in the 1989 project was assayed for ascorbic acid; serum or plasma was assayed for participants in either project for a- and β- carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, lycopene, α-tocopherol, selenium, and peroxyl radical absorption capacity. Among the total group of 258 cases and 515 controls, serum/plasma concentrations were significantly lower among cases than controls for cryptoxanthin, β-carotene, and lutein/zeaxanthin with case-control differences of -225.5, -17.1, and - 10.1%, respectively. Modest nonsignificant case-control differences in a protective direction were noted for α-carotene and ascorbic acid. There were only trivial differences for lycopene, α-tocopherol, selenium, and peroxyl radical absorption capacity. Findings are reported for males and females and for persons who had never smoked cigarettes, former smokers, and current smokers at baseline. These results and those from previous studies suggest that β-carotene is a marker for some protective factor(s) against lung cancer; that cryptoxanthin, α-carotene, and ascorbic acid need to he investigated further as potentially protective factors or associates of a protective factor; and that lycopene, α-tocopherol, selenium, and peroxyl radical absorption capacity are unlikely to be associated with lung cancer risk. Until specific preventive factors are identified, the best protection against lung cancer is still the avoidance of airborne carcinogens, especially tobacco smoke; second best is the consumption of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-916
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Volume6
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1997

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