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Ann Med. 1991 Feb;23(1):3-12.

Role of vitamin E in the prophylaxis of cancer.

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Research Institute for Social Security, Social Insurance Institution, Helsinki, Finland.


Vitamin E may have anticancer properties as a lipid antioxidant and free radical scavenger. Some animal studies support this hypothesis, although findings are contradictory. Most human studies on the role of vitamin E in cancer etiology have been of case-control or cohort design. The results of such studies on whether vitamin E intake reduces the risk of cancer do not generally support the hypothesis of its protective effect, possibly owing to methodological issues. Some of the case-control studies, however, have shown lower concentrations of vitamin E in the serum of patients with cancer than in the controls. Cohort studies also generally show a low level of serum vitamin E associated with a slightly increased risk of cancer, though the strength of this association varies between populations and subgroups, as well as for different cancer sites. No definite conclusions about a causal connection between vitamin E and the occurrence of cancer can be drawn until the final results of current large-scale intervention trials are published.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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