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Higher levels of vitamin B6, common amino acid associated with lower risk of lung cancer
Date:6/15/2010

and current smokers, indicating that results were not due to confounding [factors that can influence outcomes] by smoking. The magnitude of risk was also constant with increasing length of follow-up, indicating that the associations were not explained by preclinical disease," the researchers write.

When participants were classified by median (midpoint) levels of serum methionine and B6, having above-median levels of both was associated with a lower lung cancer risk overall. A moderate lower risk was observed for increasing serum folate levels, although this association was restricted to former and current smokers, and was not apparent in never smokers.

"Our results suggest that above-median serum measures of both B6 and methionine, assessed on average 5 years prior to disease onset, are associated with a reduction of at least 50 percent on the risk of developing lung cancer. An additional association for serum levels of folate was present, that when combined with B6 and methionine, was associated with a two-thirds lower risk of lung cancer," the authors write.

The researchers add that if their observations regarding serum methionine, B6, or both are shown to be causal, identifying optimum levels for reducing future cancer risk would appear to be appropriate.

"Lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer death in the world today and is likely to remain so for the near future. It is essential that for lung cancer prevention, any additional evidence about causality does not detract from the importance of reducing the numbers of individuals who smoke tobacco. With this in mind, it is important to recognize that a large proportion of lung cancer cases occur among former smokers, making up the majority in countries where tobacco campaigns have been particularly successful, and a non-trivial number of lung cancer cases occur also among never smokers, particularly among women in parts of Asia. Clarifying the role of B vitamins an
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Contact: Paul Brennan, Ph.D.
Brennan@iarc.fr
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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