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Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jan;71(1):135-41.

Diet and basal cell carcinoma of the skin in a prospective cohort of men.

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  • 1Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Low intake of fat and high intake of specific vitamins have been hypothesized to reduce risk of basal cell carcinoma of the skin (BCC).


Our objective was to examine intakes of fat, antioxidant nutrients, retinol, folate, and vitamin D in relation to risk of BCC.


In 1986, diet was assessed by a validated food-frequency questionnaire in 43217 male participants of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were 40-75 y of age and free of cancer. During 8 y of follow-up, we ascertained 3190 newly diagnosed cases of BCC.


Total fat consumption was associated with a lower risk of BCC [relative risk (RR): 0.81; 95% CI: 0.72, 0.90 for the highest compared with the lowest quintile of intake; P for trend < 0.001). Simultaneous modeling of specific fatty acids suggested that this inverse association was limited to monounsaturated fat (RR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.65, 0.96; P for trend = 0. 02); saturated and polyunsaturated fat were not associated with BCC risk. Folate intake was associated with a slightly higher risk of BCC (RR: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.40; P for trend = 0.11), whereas alpha-carotene was associated with a slightly lower risk (RR: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.79, 0.99; P for trend = 0.01). Intakes of long-chain n-3 fatty acids, retinol, vitamin C, vitamin D, or vitamin E were not materially related to BCC risk.


These findings do not support the hypothesis that diets low in fat or high in specific vitamins lower risk of BCC.

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