Genes reflecting better vitamin E status associated with lower prostate cancer incidence

March 18, 2015

Genes reflecting better vitamin E status associated with lower prostate cancer incidence

Genes reflecting increased vitamin E status associated with lower prostate cancer riskA study published electronically ahead of print in the Journal of Nutrition, on March 12, 2014 shows that men who use vitamin E more efficiently because of a gene variant have a  much lower risk of developing prostate cancer.

The rare genetic variant indicates a higher vitamin E status. “Genetic variants in genes involved in vitamin E transport or metabolism may be important determinants of potential beneficial effects of vitamin E supplementation on prostate cancer risk,” Jacqueline M. Major and her associates at the National Cancer Institute note in their introduction to the report.

The study included participants in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, which enrolled over 155,000 men and women between 1993 and 2001. The current investigation compared 483 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and 542 subjects without who had genotype data on three vitamin E-related variants available.

The researchers found that the presence a specific single nucleotide polymorphism; a rare form of a more common gene allowing Vitamin E to work better, was associated with a 25% lower risk of prostate cancer in comparison with the more common genotype, and that another variant conferred a reduction in risk that approached statistical significance. As potential mechanisms for vitamin E against prostate cancer, the authors emphasize its antioxidant properties that can protect against oxidative damage or inhibit lipid peroxidation within the cells. They also discuss the vitamin’s modifying effect on inflammation.

“To our knowledge, no previous study has examined the association between these genome-wide association study identified vitamin E–associated genetic variants and prostate cancer risk,” Dr Major and her colleagues announce. “These findings support the hypothesis that the variant allele may enhance antioxidant enzyme activity or other functions.