Antioxidant vitamins may protect women fromcancer of the uterus

June 05, 2009

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, US scientists report that for every 1,000 microgram increase per 1,000 calories of diet for Beta-Carotene there was a 12% reduction in the risk of endometrial cancer.

Similarly, for every 50 milligram increase per 1,000 calories for Vitamin C there was a 15% reduction in the risk of suffering with endometrial cancer, and for every 5 milligram increase per 1,000 calories for Vitamin E the risk of endometrial cancer was reduced by 9%. Endometrial cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women worldwide - around 7,000 American women die from the disease annually. The results are based on data from 12 case-control studies, and intakes from supplements were not considered by the researchers, led by Elisa Bandera from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Commenting on the potential mechanism, the US-based researchers noted that antioxidant vitamins may reduce the risk of cancer by limiting oxidative damage to DNA.

In an editorial comment in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Peter Gann, MD, ScD, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, said: “...single-agent interventions, even in combinations, may be an ineffective approach to primary prevention in average-risk populations.” Bandera worked in collaboration with scientists from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the American Cancer Society, and Kaiser Permanente. The study is published in the July 2009 issue of the journal Cancer Causes and Control.