Effect of Antioxidant-rich Foods and Supplements on Cancer Risk

  • Xiaolin Zi
  • Anne R. Simoneau
Part of the Evidence-based Anticancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine book series (ACAM, volume 5)


Diet and health have been linked throughout the centuries. Which components of the diet are responsible for health is not clear. Using epidemiological studies, case control, and cohort studies, potential nutrients have been identified which may act to promote health. Early studies identified yellow green vegetables and fruits associated with less cancer in populations which consumed more of these foods. Antioxidants are a class of nutrients that have been identified through these types of studies and theoretically their ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species caused by cellular stress may lead to less DNA damage, mutagenesis, and cancer. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) stringently test the hypothesis that adding antioxidants to a well nourished or over-nourished populace do not demonstrate the desired reduction in cancer or mortality in most studies. To illustrate the difficulty in translating epidemiological associations to successful RCTs, one of the first nutrients identified with fewer cancers, β-carotene, will be reviewed as the compound that initially identified as a potential anticancer agent and subsequently shown in RCTs to increase the risk of cancer. In addition, attempts to prevent prostate cancer with supplements will be evaluated. Review of the laboratory evidence and human studies will be performed and the discrepancies in results in RCTs are discussed. These discrepancies may be due to the baseline nutritional status of the populace, lifestyle factors such as smoking, as well as the status of the organ of interest in addition to the type and amount of agent.


Prostate Cancer Prostate Cancer Risk Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity Advanced Prostate Cancer Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urology, Department of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaOrangeUSA
  2. 2.Department of UrologyUniversity of CaliforniaLong BeachUSA

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