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Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Oct;72(4):990-7.

Intake of specific carotenoids and risk of lung cancer in 2 prospective US cohorts.

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



Carotenoids may reduce lung carcinogenesis because of their antioxidant properties; however, few studies have examined the relation between intakes of individual carotenoids and lung cancer risk.


The aim of this study was to examine the relation between lung cancer risk and intakes of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and beta-cryptoxanthin in 2 large cohorts.


During a 10-y follow-up period, 275 new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in 46924 men; during a 12-y follow-up period, 519 new cases were diagnosed in 77283 women. Carotenoid intakes were derived from the reported consumption of fruit and vegetables on food-frequency questionnaires administered at baseline and during follow-up. The data were analyzed separately for each cohort and the results were pooled to compute overall relative risks (RRs).


In the pooled analyses, alpha-carotene and lycopene intakes were significantly associated with a lower risk of lung cancer; the association with beta-carotene, lutein, and beta-cryptoxanthin intakes were inverse but not significant. Lung cancer risk was significantly lower in subjects who consumed a diet high in a variety of carotenoids (RR: 0.68; 95% CI: 0.49, 0.94 for highest compared with lowest total carotenoid score category). Inverse associations were strongest after a 4-8-y lag between dietary assessment and date of diagnosis. In subjects who never smoked, a 63% lower incidence of lung cancer was observed for the top compared with the bottom quintile of alpha-carotene intake (RR: 0.37; 95% CI: 0.18, 0.77).


Data from 2 cohort studies suggest that several carotenoids may reduce the risk of lung cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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