Women with higher carotenoid levels have reduced risk of breast cancer

December 6, 2012

Women with higher circulating carotenoid levels are at a reduced risk of breast cancer according to a study published December 6 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Carotenoids, which are micronutrients found in , have been found to have anticarcinogenic properties. Previous experimental studies have shown that carotenoids inhibit the and reduce proliferation of estrogen receptor–positive (ER+) and estrogen receptor–negative (ER-) breast cancers. Despite the inverse association between carotenoids and breast cancer in prior studies, the specific carotenoid has differed across multiple studies.

In order to determine the associations that specific carotenoids have with breast cancer, A. Heather Eliassen, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues, conducted a pooled analysis of eight cohort studies, which gathered over 80% of the world's published prospective data on plasma or serum carotenoids and breast cancer. The analysis included 3,055 case subjects and 3,956 matched control subjects. Participant carotenoid levels were recalibrated to a common standard to explain laboratory differences as well as to examine the differences across populations.

The researchers found that in over 3,000 case subjects, there were statistically significantly inverse associations between circulating levels of individual and total carotenoids and breast cancer risk, with a stronger finding in ER- breast cancers. "The inverse associations we observed among ER− tumors highlight carotenoids as one of the first modifiable risk factors for this poor prognosis tumor type," the authors write, adding that while some evidence has shown that inhibit the growth of ER+ breast cancers as well, it's possible that its effect is hidden by hormone related associations which overpower other risk factors. Still, the researchers feel that, "A diet high in carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables offers many health benefits, including a possible reduced risk of ."

Explore further: Breast density tied to specific types of breast cancer

Related Stories

Breast density tied to specific types of breast cancer

July 27, 2011

Women with breasts that appear dense on mammograms are at a higher risk of breast cancer and their tumors are more likely to have certain aggressive characteristics than women with less dense breasts, according to a study ...

Elevated hormone levels add up to increased breast cancer risk

October 21, 2011

Post-menopausal women with high levels of hormones such as estrogen or testosterone are known to have a higher risk of breast cancer. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research looked ...

Vitamin D influences racial differences in breast cancer risk

April 4, 2012

American women of African ancestry are more likely than European Americans to have estrogen receptor (ER) negative breast cancer. There continues to be discussion about the role of low levels of vitamin D in the development ...

Recommended for you

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

November 26, 2015

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.