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Inverse associations between serum concentrations of zeaxanthin and other carotenoids and colorectal neoplasm in Japanese

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International Journal of Clinical Oncology Aims and scope Submit manuscript



To investigate the associations between serum concentrations of carotenoids and the presence of colorectal polyps and cancers in Japanese using a cross-sectional study.


893 subjects who underwent colorectal endoscopy between 2001 and 2002 provided serum samples and information on lifestyle factors. Serum concentrations of six carotenoids were compared among patients with polyps, cancers, and controls.


In males, high serum zeaxanthin was associated with decreased rates of polyps [odds ratio (OR) = 0.48, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.27–0.87] and cancer (OR = 0.35, 95 % CI 0.12–1.06), adjusting for age, body mass index, serum cholesterol, smoking status, and alcohol intake. In females, zeaxanthin (OR = 0.25, 95 % CI 0.07–0.82), lutein (OR = 0.30, 95 % CI 0.10–0.94), alpha-carotene (OR = 0.30, 95 % CI 0.10–0.90), and beta-carotene (OR = 0.27, 95 % CI 0.09–0.85) showed significant inverse associations with cancer development. These associations were consistent with findings of inverse associations between the ingestion of green–yellow vegetables (OR = 0.44, 95 % CI 0.23–0.84), carrots and pumpkins (OR = 0.46, 95 % CI 0.25–0.86), and fruits (OR = 0.53, 95 % CI 0.30–0.94) and polyp in males, and between carrots and pumpkins (OR = 0.30, 95 % CI 0.09–0.99), legumes (OR = 0.14, 95 % CI 0.04–0.44), and seaweed (OR = 0.23, 95 % CI 0.07–0.75) and cancer development in females.


These results provide further support for the protective effects of carotenoids contained in green–yellow vegetables and fruits against colorectal neoplasm in Japanese.

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This study was not sponsored by any outside sources. We thank Takashi Sakamoto, Atsushi Kobayashi, Tatsuhiro Otsuki, and Takashi Wada of Kyoto Biseibutu Kenkyusyo for measuring serum carotenoid concentrations. We also thank Dr. Yoshinori Ito for general advice on interpretation of the results.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Yusuke Okuyama.

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Okuyama, Y., Ozasa, K., Oki, K. et al. Inverse associations between serum concentrations of zeaxanthin and other carotenoids and colorectal neoplasm in Japanese. Int J Clin Oncol 19, 87–97 (2014).

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