Evidence from some previous studies suggests that lipophilic antioxidants, particularly carotenoids, may reduce the risk of breast cancer. We prospectively investigated the associations of plasma levels of tocopherols, retinol, carotenoids with the risk of developing breast cancer among Chinese women. We conducted a study of 365 incident breast cancer cases and 726 individually matched controls nested within a large cohort study of women aged 40–70 years at baseline. We observed no associations between breast cancer risk and any of the tocopherols, retinol, and most carotenoids. However, high levels of plasma lycopene other than trans, 5- and 7-cis or trans α-cryptoxanthin were inversely associated with the risk of developing breast cancer. Our results do not support an overall protective effect of lipophilic antioxidants on breast cancer risk. The few inverse associations observed for subtype of carotenoids may need to be confirmed in future studies.
Lipophilic antioxidants Breast cancer Plasma
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The authors would like to thank the study participants and Brandy Sue Venuti for technical assistance in the preparation of this manuscript. The authors also thank Cynthia Morrison for the skillful performance of HPLC assays and thank Dr. Bob Cooney for his helpful comments. This study was supported by USPHS grant R01CA106591 as well as USPHS grant R01CA70867 and NIH intramural program (N02 CP1101066) for the parent study.
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