A large study shows that Vitamins B2 and B6 lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer

October 04, 2010

European researchers who are part of the Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study that there is a correlation between higher levels of vitamins B2 and B6 and a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.

     The study included 1,365 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 2,319 age and gender-matched control subjects. Blood samples obtained upon enrollment between 1992 and 1998 were analyzed for vitamins B2, B6 and B12, and 8 variants of genes that encode enzymes related to one-carbon metabolism, which involves these vitamins. The subjects were followed for an average of 3.6 years.

     Some of the findings coming out of the study included the following; Vitamin levels were lower in smokers compared to nonsmokers, and vitamin B12 tended to be higher in participants under 60 years of age than in older subjects.

     In the case of colorectal cancer for those whose vitamin B2 levels were among the top one-fifth of participants, there was a 29% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer compared with those whose levels were among the lowest fifth. Among those whose vitamin B6 levels were highest, the risk was 32% lower than those whose levels were lowest. There were no significant associations for vitamin B12 or the genetic polymorphisms with colorectal cancer.

     “The present study is the largest prospective study on plasma B-vitamins and colorectal cancer risk published so far,” the authors announce. They suggest that the associations observed in the current research may be due to mechanisms that do not involve one-carbon metabolism but due to other protective effects from the nutrients.

     This European population-based study is among the first to indicate that vitamin B2 is inversely associated with colorectal cancer, and is in agreement with previously suggested inverse associations of vitamin B6 with colorectal cancer. they note. The study is published in the October, 2010 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.