Homocysteine, Folate Linked to Laryngeal Cancer Risk

Increased plasma levels of homocysteine and decreased levels of folate are strongly associated with laryngeal cancer

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Metabolic changes in the levels of homocysteine, folate and vitamin B12 may play a role in laryngeal cancer, researchers report in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

Andrea Nacci, M.D., of the University of Pisa in Pisa, Italy, and colleagues evaluated the plasma levels of homocysteine, folate and vitamin B12 in 25 laryngeal cancer patients, and compared these results with those from 80 individuals in a control group. Participants in each group were further classified as smokers, non-smokers or ex-smokers.

Patients in the laryngeal cancer group had significantly higher levels of total homocysteine compared with the control group (2.84 versus 0.99 mg/L, respectively), the investigators found. Conversely, patients in the laryngeal cancer group displayed nearly half of the mean folate level (4.3 versus 7.9 ng/mL), which was also found to be significantly different. Similarly, lower mean levels of vitamin B12 were observed in the laryngeal group compared with the control group (385 versus 498 pg/mL), the report indicates. Multivariate analysis accounting for smoking status showed that both homocysteine levels and folate levels were independent and strong risk factors for laryngeal cancer, the researchers report.

"In conclusion, we found an interesting association between plasma homocysteine and folate levels and laryngeal cancer," the authors state, but they note that future studies are necessary to validate these results.

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