Logo of brjcancerBJC HomepageBJC Advance online publicationBJC Current IssueSubmitting an article to BJCWeb feeds
Br J Cancer. 1984 Mar; 49(3): 321–324.
PMCID: PMC1976754

Plasma retinol, beta-carotene and vitamin E levels in relation to the future risk of breast cancer.


In a prospective study of 5,004 women in Guernsey, plasma samples were collected and stored. Retinol, beta-carotene and vitamin E levels were later measured in the samples from 39 women who subsequently developed breast cancer and from 78 controls who did not develop cancer. Plasma retinol levels were not related to the risk of breast cancer, mean levels among cases and controls being 485 micrograms l-1 and 479 micrograms l-1 respectively. Plasma vitamin E levels showed a clear association, low levels being associated with a significantly higher risk of cancer. The mean vitamin E levels among cases and controls were 4.7 mg l-1 and 6.0 mg l-1 respectively (P less than 0.025), and the risk of breast cancer in women with vitamin E levels in the lowest quintile was about 5-times higher than the risk for women with levels in the highest quintile (P less than 0.01). beta-carotene levels showed a tendency to be lower in women who developed cancer than in controls (36 micrograms l-1 among cases compared with 50 micrograms l-1 among controls) but the difference was not statistically significant.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (483K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Bulbrook RD, Hayward JL, Spicer CC. Relation between urinary androgen and corticoid excretion and subsequent breast cancer. Lancet. 1971 Aug 21;2(7721):395–398. [PubMed]
  • Cook MG, McNamara P. Effect of dietary vitamin E on dimethylhydrazine-induced colonic tumors in mice. Cancer Res. 1980 Apr;40(4):1329–1331. [PubMed]
  • Kark JD, Smith AH, Switzer BR, Hames CG. Serum vitamin A (retinol) and cancer incidence in Evans County, Georgia. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1981 Jan;66(1):7–16. [PubMed]
  • Kwa HG, Cleton F, Wang DY, Bulbrook RD, Bulstrode JC, Hayward JL, Millis RR, Cuzick J. A prospective study of plasma prolactin levels and subsequent risk of breast cancer. Int J Cancer. 1981 Dec;28(6):673–676. [PubMed]
  • Mathews-Roth MM. Antitumor activity of beta-carotene, canthaxanthin and phytoene. Oncology. 1982;39(1):33–37. [PubMed]
  • Peto R, Doll R, Buckley JD, Sporn MB. Can dietary beta-carotene materially reduce human cancer rates? Nature. 1981 Mar 19;290(5803):201–208. [PubMed]
  • Shekelle RB, Lepper M, Liu S, Maliza C, Raynor WJ, Jr, Rossof AH, Paul O, Shryock AM, Stamler J. Dietary vitamin A and risk of cancer in the Western Electric study. Lancet. 1981 Nov 28;2(8257):1185–1190. [PubMed]
  • Stähelin HB, Buess E, Rösel F, Widmer LK, Brubacher G. Vitamin A, cardiovascular risk factors, and mortality. Lancet. 1982 Feb 13;1(8268):394–395. [PubMed]
  • Vuilleumier JP, Keller HE, Gysel D, Hunziker F. Clinical chemical methods for the routine assessment of the vitamin status in human populations. Part I: The fat-soluble vitamins A and E, and beta-carotene. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1983;53(3):265–272. [PubMed]
  • Wald N, Idle M, Boreham J, Bailey A. Low serum-vitamin-A and subsequent risk of cancer. Preliminary results of a prospective study. Lancet. 1980 Oct 18;2(8199):813–815. [PubMed]
  • Wald NJ, Idle M, Boreham J, Bailey A. Inhaling habits among smokers of different types of cigarette. Thorax. 1980 Dec;35(12):925–928. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from British Journal of Cancer are provided here courtesy of Cancer Research UK


Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    NCBI Bookshelf books that cite the current articles.
  • Compound
    PubChem chemical compound records that cite the current articles. These references are taken from those provided on submitted PubChem chemical substance records. Multiple substance records may contribute to the PubChem compound record.
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem chemical substance records that cite the current articles. These references are taken from those provided on submitted PubChem chemical substance records.

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...