Antioxidant supplements do not appear to be associated with an increased risk of melanoma, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology.
A recent randomised trial of antioxidants for cancer prevention found that daily supplementation with nutritionally appropriate doses of vitamins C and E, beta carotene, selenium and zinc appeared to increase the risk of melanoma in women four-fold. Because approximately half of U.S. adults use vitamin or mineral supplements regularly, the potential harmful effects of these nutrients could be alarming.
Maryam M. Asgari, M.D., M.P.H., of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, and colleagues examined the association between antioxidants and melanoma among 69,671 women and men who were participating in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) study, designed to examine supplement use and cancer risk. At the beginning of the study, between 2000 and 2002, participants completed a 24-page questionnaire about lifestyle factors, health history, diet, supplement use and other cancer risk factors.
The study found that intake of multivitamins and supplements during the previous 10 years, including selenium and beta carotene, was not associated with melanoma risk in either women or men. The researchers also examined the risk of melanoma associated with long-term use of supplemental beta carotene and selenium at doses comparable to the previous study and found no association.
“Consistent with the present results, case-control studies examining serologic [blood] levels of beta carotene, vitamin E and selenium did not find any association with subsequent risk of melanoma,” the authors write. “Moreover, the Nurses’ Health Study reported no association between intake of vitamins A, C and E and melanoma risk in 162,000 women during more than 1.6 million person-years of follow-up.”
Reference: Arch Dermatol. 2009;145:879-882
We are an independent charity and are not backed by a large company or society. We raise every penny ourselves to improve the standards of cancer care through education. You can help us continue our work to address inequalities in cancer care by making a donation.
Any donation, however small, contributes directly towards the costs of creating and sharing free oncology education.
Together we can get better outcomes for patients by tackling global inequalities in access to the results of cancer research.
Thank you for your support.