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Beta-Carotene Linked to Cancer Risk in Smokers

In nonsmokers, cancer risk drops with beta-carotene consumption

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Female smokers have a greater risk of tobacco-related cancers if they consume high amounts of beta-carotene, according to a study published in the Sept. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Mathilde Touvier and colleagues at INSERM, Equipe E3N, Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, looked at self-reported and other data from 59,910 French women collected between 1994 and 2002. After a median of 7.4 years, 700 women developed smoking-related cancers. Beta-carotene intake was classified in four categories from low to high (supplement use).

For women who had never smoked, the absolute cancer rates over 10 years were 181.8 per 10,000 women with low beta-carotene intake and 81.7 per 10,000 women with high beta-carotene intake. In ever smokers, it was 174 and 368.3 cases per 10,000, respectively.

"Beta-carotene intake was inversely associated with risk of tobacco-related cancers among nonsmokers with a statistically significant dose-dependent relationship, whereas high beta-carotene intake was directly associated with risk among smokers," the researchers conclude.

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