BACKGROUND: Approximately 170,000 cases of lung cancer are estimated to be
diagnosed in the United States in 2002. Research on the protective
properties of carotenoids has sometimes been conflicting, but carotenoids
may work through a number of mechanisms: quenching harmful free radicals,
improving cell-to-cell communications, increasing production of detoxifying
enzymes, and inhibiting proliferation of cancer cells.
RESEARCH: Researchers analyzed the diets, as well as blood levels of some
nutrients, of approximately 27,000 male smokers, ages 50-69 at the start of
a study. They tracked correlations between specific carotenoids and the
developing lung cancer.
RESULTS: Men with high intake of fruits and vegetables and foods containing
lycopene, lutein/zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, and total carotenoids were
less likely to develop lung cancer after up to 14 years of follow up. Men
with high blood levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A also had a lower risk
of developing lung cancer. Men consuming large amounts of lycopene were the
least likely to develop lung cancer.
IMPLICATIONS: The researchers wrote that "results of this study suggest
that the consumption of several carotenoids from carotenoid-rich food
sources is inversely related to lung cancer risk."
Holick CN, Michaud DS, Stolzenberg-Solomon R, et al, "Dietary carotenoids,
serum beta-carotene, and retinol and risk of lung cancer in the alpha- tocopherol, beta-carotene cohort study," American Journal of Epidemiology,
For the original abstract, visit: <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12226001&dopt=Abstract>