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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Jun;16(6):1253-9.

Serum and dietary vitamin E in relation to prostate cancer risk.

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  • 1Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Department of Health and Human Services, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Alpha-tocopherol supplementation (50 mg daily for 5-8 years) reduced prostate cancer incidence by 32% in the alpha-Tocopherol, beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study. We investigated whether serum alpha-tocopherol or intake of vitamin E (eight tocopherols and tocotrienols) was associated with prostate cancer risk with up to 19 years of follow-up in the alpha-Tocopherol, beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study cohort. Of the 29,133 Finnish male smokers, ages 50 to 69 years recruited into the study, 1,732 were diagnosed with incident prostate cancer between 1985 and 2004. Baseline serum alpha-tocopherol was measured by high-performance liquid chromatography and the components of vitamin E intake were estimated based on a 276-item food frequency questionnaire and food chemistry analyses. Proportional hazard models were used to determine multivariate-adjusted relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Higher serum alpha-tocopherol was associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer (RR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.66-0.96 for highest versus lowest quintile; Ptrend = 0.03) and was strongly and inversely related to the risk of developing advanced disease (RR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.36-0.85; Ptrend = 0.002). The inverse serum alpha-tocopherol-prostate cancer association was greater among those who were supplemented with either alpha-tocopherol or beta-carotene during the trial. There were no associations between prostate cancer and the individual dietary tocopherols and tocotrienols. In summary, higher prediagnostic serum concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, but not dietary vitamin E, was associated with lower risk of developing prostate cancer, particularly advanced prostate cancer.

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