Clear link between heavy vitamin B intake and lung cancer

August 22, 2017, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
High-dose, long-term use of vitamins B12 and B6 dramatically increase a man's risk of lung cancer, especially among those who smoke, according to a new study from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Credit: The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

New research suggests long-term, high-dose supplementation with vitamins B6 and B12—long touted by the vitamin industry for increasing energy and improving metabolism—is associated with a two- to four-fold increased lung cancer risk in men relative to non-users.

Risk was further elevated in male smokers taking more than 20 mg of B6 or 55 micrograms of B12 a day for 10 years. Male smokers taking B6 at this dose were three times more likely to develop . Male smokers taking B12 at such doses were approximately four times more likely to develop the disease compared to non-users.

Epidemiologists from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and National Taiwan University report their findings in the Aug. 22, 2017 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This is the first prospective, observational study to look at the effects of long-term high-dose B6/B12 supplement use and lung cancer risk. These supplements have been broadly thought to reduce cancer risk.

For this study, Theodore Brasky, PhD, of the OSUCCC - James, and colleagues analyzed data from more than 77,000 patients participants in the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study, a long-term prospective observational study designed to evaluate vitamin and other mineral supplements in relation to cancer risk. All participants were aged between 50 and 76 were recruited in the state of Washington between the years 2000 and 2002. Upon enrolling in the study, participants reported information to researchers about B-vitamin usage over the past 10 years. This included dosage information—a critical but often missing detail needed for strong risk assessment and association research.

Diana Sullivan, RN examines a patient at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. In a newly published study, researchers there discovered that men who take high-dose vitamin B6 and B12 supplements for a decade had significantly higher risks for developing lung cancer, especially if they also smoked while taking the supplements. Credit: The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Richard J. Solove Research Institute

For this new analysis, researchers used statistical techniques to adjust for numerous factors including: personal smoking history, age, race, education, body size, alcohol consumption, personal history of cancer or , family history of lung cancer and use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

"This sets all of these other influencing factors as equal, so we are left with a less confounded effect of long-term B6 and B12 super-supplementation," explains Brasky. "Our data shows that taking high doses of B6 and B12 over a very long period of time could contribute to lung cancer incidence rates in . This is certainly a concern worthy of further evaluation."

Brasky notes these findings relate to doses that are well above those from taking a multivitamin every day for 10 years.

"These are doses that can only be obtained from taking high-dose B vitamin supplements, and these supplements are many times the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance," he said.

Two additional studies are underway at The OSUCCC - James to further evaluate high dose, long-term B6 and B12 supplementation and risk. One study will examine associations in post-menopausal women in order to confirm the current finding of no elevated risk in women. The second will examine B6/B12 high dose, long-term supplementation in a second large prospective study of men in an effort to determine whether the increases risk observed in the current study can be replicated.

Explore further: Total, saturated fat linked to increased risk of lung cancer

Related Stories

Total, saturated fat linked to increased risk of lung cancer

July 28, 2017
(HealthDay)—High intake of total and saturated fat is associated with increased risk of lung cancer, according to research published online July 25 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Smokers who receive CT lung screening are more likely to quit

July 24, 2017
Smokers who undergo a CT scan of their lungs are more likely to quit than those who don't, concludes a trial led by Cardiff University.

Study shows that antioxidants may reduce lung cancer risk

March 8, 2017
An epidemiological study published in Frontiers in Oncology suggests that a diet high in carotenoids and vitamin C may protect against lung cancer. The study authors found that vitamin C appears to reduce the risk of lung ...

Study develops prediction model for lung cancer risk in never smokers

November 2, 2016
Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have developed a new personalized assessment tool that could better predict lung cancer risk in never, light and heavy smokers using a large Taiwanese prospective ...

Long-term anti-inflammatory drug use may increase cancer-related deaths for certain patients

December 19, 2016
Regular use of over-the-counter non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen is associated with an increased risk of dying in patients diagnosed with Type 1 endometrial cancers, according to a new ...

Recommended for you

New approach attacks 'undruggable' cancers from the outside in

January 23, 2018
Cancer researchers have made great strides in developing targeted therapies that treat the specific genetic mutations underlying a patient's cancer. However, many of the most common cancer-causing genes are so central to ...

Study: Cells of three advanced cancers die with drug-like compounds that reverse chemo failure

January 23, 2018
Researchers at Southern Methodist University have discovered three drug-like compounds that successfully reverse chemotherapy failure in three of the most commonly aggressive cancers—ovarian, prostate and breast.

'Hijacker' drives cancer in some patients with high-risk neuroblastoma

January 23, 2018
Researchers have identified mechanisms that drive about 10 percent of high-risk neuroblastoma cases and have used a new approach to show how the cancer genome "hijacks" DNA that regulates other genes. The resulting insights ...

Enzyme inhibitor combined with chemotherapy delays glioblastoma growth

January 23, 2018
In animal experiments, a human-derived glioblastoma significantly regressed when treated with the combination of an experimental enzyme inhibitor and the standard glioblastoma chemotherapy drug, temozolomide.

Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant

January 23, 2018
A study headed by ICREA researcher Roger Gomis at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has identified the genes involved in the latent asymptomatic state of breast cancer metastases. The work sheds light ...

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

0 comments

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.