High consumption of vitamin E either from diet or vitamin supplements may lower the risk of liver cancer, according to a study published July 17 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which is considered an antioxidant and numerous experimental studies have suggested that vitamin E may prevent DNA damage.
Liver cancer is the third most common cause of cancer mortality in the world, the fifth most common cancer found in men and the seventh most common in women. Approximately 85 percent of liver cancers occur in developing nations, with 54 percent in China alone.
To determine the relationship between vitamin E intake and liver cancer risk, Wei Zhang, M.D., MPH., Shanghai Cancer Institute, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed data from a total of 132,837 individuals in China who were enrolled in the Shanghai Women's Health Study (SWHS) from 1997-2000 or the Shanghai Men's Health Study (SMHS) from 2002-2006, two population-based cohort studies jointly conducted by the Shanghai Cancer Institute and Vanderbilt University.
Using validated food-frequency questionnaires, the researchers conducted in-person interviews to gather data on study participants' dietary habits. Participants were asked how often they ate some of the most commonly consumed foods in urban Shanghai and whether they took vitamin supplements.
The investigators then compared liver cancer risk among participants who had high intake of vitamin E with those who had low intake.