, Volume 139, Issue 2, pp 529-537
Date: 10 May 2013

Postdiagnosis supplement use and breast cancer prognosis in the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project

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Abstract

Vitamin supplement use after breast cancer diagnosis is common, but little is known about long-term effects on recurrence and survival. We examined postdiagnosis supplement use and risk of death or recurrence in the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project, a consortium of four cohorts of 12,019 breast cancer survivors from the United States and China. Post-treatment supplement use (vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and multivitamins) was assessed 1–5 years postdiagnosis. Associations with risk of recurrence, breast cancer-specific mortality, or total mortality were analyzed in Cox proportional hazards models separately by cohort. Individual cohort results were combined using random effects meta-analysis. Interactions with smoking, treatment, and hormonal status were examined. In multivariate models, vitamin E was associated with a decreased risk of recurrence (RR: 0.88; 95 % CI 0.79–0.99), and vitamin C with decreased risk of death (RR: 0.81; 95 % CI 0.72–0.92). However, when supplements were mutually adjusted, all associations were attenuated. There were no statistically significant associations with breast cancer mortality. The use of antioxidant supplements (multivitamins, vitamin C, or E) was not associated with recurrence, but was associated with a 16 % decreased risk of death (95 % CI 0.72–0.99). In addition, vitamin D was associated with decreased risk of recurrence among ER positive, but not ER negative tumors (p-interaction = 0.01). In this large consortium of breast cancer survivors, post-treatment use of vitamin supplements was not associated with increased risk of recurrence or death. Post-treatment use of antioxidant supplements was associated with improved survival, but the associations with individual supplement were difficult to determine. Stratification by ER status and considering antioxidants as a group may be more clinically relevant when evaluating associations with cancer risk and mortality.