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Use of Supplemental Vitamin B and Risk of Lung Cancer

“Vitamin B supplements are not chemopreventive for lung cancer and may be harmful,” concluded Theodore M. Brasky, PhD, of The Ohio State University, and colleagues, who reported their findings based on the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Specifically, the use of individual source supplemental vitamins B6 and B12 was associated with an increased risk of lung cancer among men in the VITAL cohort.

Of the more than 77,000 participants in this study, who were recruited between October 2000 and December 2002, approximately 800 incident primary invasive lung cancers were identified. The featured exposure was the 10-year average daily dose from individual and multivitamin supplements.

Among men, use of vitamins B6 and B12 from individual supplement sources—but not from multivitamins—was linked to a 30% to 40% increase in the risk of lung cancer. In contrast, however, among women, the use of supplement vitamins B6, folate, and B12 was not associated with a risk of lung cancer. Of note was the fact that the connection between the intake of supplemental vitamins B6 and B12 and the risk of lung cancer was observed for all histologic subtypes except adenocarcinoma.