Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Folic Acid, B Vitamins Do Not Appear To Affect Cancer Risk

Date:
November 5, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
A daily supplementation combination that included folic acid and vitamin B6 and B12 had no significant effect on the overall risk of cancer, including breast cancer, among women at high risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new study.

A daily supplementation combination that included folic acid and vitamin B6 and B12 had no significant effect on the overall risk of cancer, including breast cancer, among women at high risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study in the November 5 issue of JAMA.

Folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 (water-soluble, essential B vitamins) are thought to play an important role in cancer prevention. "Background fortification of the food supply with folic acid (a synthetic form of folate), a policy that began in the United States in 1998 to reduce risk of neural tube defects, has improved folate status in the general population. Approximately one-third of U.S. adults currently take multivitamin supplements containing folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12," the authors write. Data from randomized trials of folic acid alone or in combination with B vitamins and cancer risk are limited, not entirely consistent, and one trial has even raised concerns about harmful effects.

Shumin M. Zhang, M.D., Sc.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues conducted a trial to evaluate the effect of combined folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 treatment on cancer risk in women at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The Women's Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study included 5,442 U.S. female health professionals age 42 years or older, with pre-existing cardiovascular disease or three or more coronary risk factors, who were randomly assigned to receive either a daily combination (n = 2,721) of folic acid (2.5 mg.), vitamin B6 (50 mg.), and vitamin B12 (1 mg.) or a matching placebo (n = 2,721). They were treated for 7.3 years, from April 1998 through July 2005.

"A total of 379 women developed invasive cancer (187 in the active treatment group and 192 in the placebo group)," the authors write. "Compared with placebo, women receiving the active treatment had similar risk of developing total invasive cancer, breast cancer, or any cancer death." There were no differences according to current use of multivitamin supplements, intakes of total folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, or history of cancer at baseline. Lack of effect for total invasive cancer did not vary over time.

Age significantly modified the effect of combined B vitamin treatment on risk of total invasive cancer and breast cancer. A significantly reduced risk was observed for total invasive cancer and breast cancer among women age 65 years or older at study entry, but no reductions in risk were observed among younger women (40-54 years or 55-64 years).

"If the finding is real and substantiated, the results may have public health significance because the incidence rates of cancer are high in elderly persons. The finding is biologically plausible because elderly individuals have increased requirements for these B vitamins," the authors write.

"In conclusion, treatment with combined folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 provided neither beneficial nor harmful effects on overall risk of total cancer, breast cancer, or deaths from cancer among women at high risk for CVD."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shumin M. Zhang; Nancy R. Cook; Christine M. Albert; J. Michael Gaziano; Julie E. Buring; JoAnn E. Manson. Effect of Combined Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 on Cancer Risk in Women. JAMA, 2008; 300 (17): 2012-2021 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Folic Acid, B Vitamins Do Not Appear To Affect Cancer Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081104175352.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, November 5). Folic Acid, B Vitamins Do Not Appear To Affect Cancer Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081104175352.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Folic Acid, B Vitamins Do Not Appear To Affect Cancer Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081104175352.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins