Plasma levels of carotenoids, retinol and tocopherol and the risk of gastric cancer in Japan: a nested case-control study.Carcinogenesis 2008; 29(5):1042-8C
Fruits and vegetables have been suggested to confer protection against diseases such as cancer through the effects of antioxidants, often represented by carotenoids. We investigated the impact of carotenoids, retinol and tocopherol on gastric cancer development in a large nested case-control study among Japanese with known Helicobacter pylori infection status. A total of 36 745 subjects aged 40-69 in the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study who responded to the baseline questionnaire and provided blood samples in 1990-1995 were followed until 2004. Plasma levels of carotenoids in 511 gastric cancer cases and 511 matched controls were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. Odds ratios (ORs) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using conditional logistic regression models. Plasma level of beta-carotene was inversely associated with the risk of gastric cancer (compared with the lowest quartile: OR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.31-0.75; OR = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.31-0.75 and OR = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.28-0.75, for quartile 2, 3 and 4, respectively, P(trend) < 0.01). Inverse associations were evident in men for alpha-carotene (P(trend) = 0.04) and beta-carotene (P(trend) < 0.01), but not in women, who had relatively higher plasma levels compared with men. We found no statistically significant association between plasma levels of lutein/zeaxanthin, lycopene, retinol, alpha- or gamma-tocopherol and gastric cancer risk. Our findings suggest that those who have very low plasma levels of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are at a higher risk of gastric cancer.