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Alpha-Tocopherol Reduces Upper GI Cancer Risk?

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www.ProHealth.com • September 23, 2003


BETHESDA, Md.--Serum alpha-tocopherol levels, but not gamma-tocopherol levels, may be associated with a reduced risk of upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, according to investigators at the Cancer Prevention Studies Branch of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Philip R. Taylor, M.D., Sc.D., and colleagues published their findings in the Sept. 17 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (95, 18:1414-16, 2003) (jnci.oupjournals.org).

According to the researchers, a prior study--the General Population Trial--indicated participants taking beta-carotene and vitamin E supplements had significantly lower cancer mortality rates than those who did not take supplements. To further explore this data, Taylor and colleagues conducted a case-cohort study to investigate whether pre-trial serum vitamin E levels were associated with the risk of upper GI cancers. They reviewed serum alpha- and gamma-tocopherol levels, as well as cholesterol levels, for 1,072 case participants and 1,053 control subjects.

Results indicated those in the highest quartile of serum alpha-tocopherol levels were less likely to develop esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, gastric cardia cancer and gastric noncardia cancer than those in the lowest quartiles. Gamma-tocopherol was not associated with the incidence of any of these cancers. Researchers concluded their findings support the role of alpha-tocopherol in the etiology of upper GI cancers.

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