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Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Oct;102(10):2323-30; quiz 2331. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

Meta-analysis of antioxidant intake and the risk of esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma.

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Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Division of Research, Oakland, California, and Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.



The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has been increasing rapidly among many countries. Antioxidant intake is a potentially modifiable protective factor, although the results from individual studies are inconclusive. We conducted a systematic review and statistical synthesis of studies that evaluated the associations between vitamin C, vitamin E, or beta-carotene/vitamin A and the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma or the adjacent gastric cardia (gastroesophageal junction) adenocarcinoma.


Studies were included if they reported (a) a measure of dietary antioxidant intake; (b) esophageal or cardia adenocarcinoma occurrence; and (c) a relative risk or odds ratio (OR) with confidence intervals (CI), or sufficient data to permit their calculation.


We identified 10 studies (1 cohort, 9 case-control; 1,057 esophageal and 644 cardia cases). Summary estimates stratified by cancer site suggested that higher intakes of vitamin C, beta-carotene/vitamin A, and vitamin E were inversely associated with the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (vitamin C, OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.39-0.62, P(heterogeneity)= 0.10; beta-carotene, OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.36-0.59, P(heterogeneity)= 0.82; vitamin E intake, OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.63-1.03, P(heterogeneity)= 0.59). Beta-carotene intake was also inversely associated with the risk of cardia adenocarcinoma (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.46-0.72, P(heterogeneity)= 0.17). Dose effects were observed for most associations.


Pooled results from observational studies suggest that antioxidant intake may be protective against esophageal adenocarcinoma; the data do not support a consistent association between antioxidant intake and the risk of cardia carcinoma. These findings suggest possible etiological differences between these two adjacent malignancies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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