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Tissue antioxidants and postmenopausal breast cancer : the European Community Multicentre Study on Antioxidants, Myocardial Infarction and Cancer of the Breast (EURAMIC)

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Author: Veer, P. van 't · Strain, J.J. · Fernandez-Crehuet, J. · Martin, B.C. · Thamm, M. · Kardinaal, A.F.M. · Kohlmeier, L. · Huttunen, J.K. · Martin-Moreno, J.M. · Kok, F.J.
Institution: Centraal Instituut voor Voedingsonderzoek TNO
Source:Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 6, 5, 441-447
Identifier: 68616
Keywords: Nutrition · Adipose Tissue · Adult · Aged · Antioxidants · beta Carotene · Breast Neoplasms · Case-Control Studies · Female · Free Radicals · Humans · Middle Aged · Nails · Odds Ratio · Reference Values · Selenium · Vitamin E


Antioxidants may protect against free radical mediated carcinogenesis. Epidemiological studies have not confirmed this hypothesis for breast cancer, possibly because of methodological limitations. Time-integrated exposure of α-tocopherol and β-carotene in adipose tissue, and selenium in toenails was investigated in a case-control study among postmenopausal women, ages 50-74 years, from five European countries. The study group comprised 347 incident breast cancer cases and 374 controls. Mean antioxidant levels, adjusted for age and center, did not significantly differ for α-tocopherol (cases were 4.5% higher than controls), β-carotene (3.0% lower), or selenium (1.8% lower). Odds ratios for highest versus lowest tertiles of exposure, adjusted for potential confounders, were 1.15 (95% confidence interval, 0.75-1.77), 0.74 (0.45-1.23), and 0.96 (0.63-1.47), respectively, without evidence for a decreasing trend. No statistically significant interactions were observed. Moreover, a provisional antioxidant score, indicating whether concentrations were above the median for zero, one, two, or all three antioxidants, yielded odds ratios of 1.00 (reference; all below median), 1.58, 1.58, and 1.21, respectively (χ2 for association = 4.00; P = 0.26). These results do not support the hypothesis that antioxidants are important determinants of this hormone-related malignancy among postmenopausal women. Chemicals/CAS: Antioxidants; beta Carotene, 7235-40-7; Free Radicals; Selenium, 7782-49-2; Vitamin E, 1406-18-4