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Antioxidant Vitamins May Protect Against Cancer of the Uterus

Lee Swanson Research Update

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Increased intakes of vitamins C and E and beta-carotene may reduce the risk of cancer of the uterus, according to a new review and meta-analysis of the science to date.

Writing in Cancer Causes and Control, U.S. scientists report that every 1,000 mcg increase per 1,000 kcal (kilocalorie) of diet of beta-carotene was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of endometrial cancer.

Similarly, for every 50 mg increase per 1,000 kcal of vitamin C, the risk of endometrial cancer was reduced by 15%, and for every 5 mg increase per 1,000 kcal of vitamin E, the risk of endometrial cancer was reduced by nine percent.

The results were based on data from 12 case-control studies. Researchers were led by Elisa Bandera from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

"Although the current case-control data suggest an inverse relationship of endometrial cancer risk with dietary intakes of beta-carotene, vitamin C and Vitamin E from food sources, additional studies are needed, particularly cohort studies, to confirm an association," the researchers said.

Commenting on the potential mechanism, the researchers noted that antioxidant vitamins may reduce the risk of cancer by limiting oxidative damage to DNA.

A vast body of epidemiological studies has linked increased dietary intake of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables to reduced risks of a range of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Cancer Causes and Control 20(5):699-711, 2009

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