Selenium, Vitamins C, E May Lower Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Food diary data suggest higher antioxidant intake may cut pancreatic cancer risk by two-thirds

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Higher intakes of the antioxidants selenium and vitamins C and E reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by two-thirds, according to a study published online July 23 in Gut.

Paul J.R. Banim, M.B.B.S., from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K., and colleagues analyzed data from 23,658 participants aged 40 to74 years who participated in the EPIC-Norfolk Study and completed seven-day food diaries. A computer program calculated nutrient intakes in those later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in 3,970 controls.

The researchers found that, during a 10-year period, 49 participants (55 percent men) developed pancreatic cancer. There was a significantly decreased risk of pancreatic cancer among those eating a combination of the highest three quartiles of all of vitamins C and E and selenium (hazard ratio [HR], 0.33). For selenium and vitamin E there were threshold effects (quartile 2 to 4 versus quartile 1; HR, 0.49 and 0.57, respectively). For quartiles of antioxidants, excluding zinc, the HRs were less than 1.0, but were not statistically significant. There was a significant inverse association between serum measurements of vitamin C and risk (HR trend, 0.67), but the threshold effect from food diaries was not significant.

"The results support measuring antioxidants in studies investigating the etiology of pancreatic cancer," the authors write. "If the association is causal, one in 12 cancers might be prevented by avoiding the lowest intakes."

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