Intake of antioxidant nutrients and the risk of skin cancer

Mirjam M. Heinen, Maria Celia Hughes, Torukiri I. Ibiebele, Geoffrey C. Marks, Adèle C. Green, Jolieke C. van der Pols

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    To investigate the associations between intake of antioxidant nutrients and risk of basal cell (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the skin, we carried out a prospective study among 1001 randomly selected adults living in an Australian community. Intake of antioxidants was estimated in 1996. Incident, histologically-confirmed BCC and SCC were recorded between 1996 and 2004. High dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin was associated with a reduced incidence of SCC in persons who had a history of skin cancer at baseline (highest versus lowest tertile, multivariable adjusted relative risk (RR) = 0.47, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.25-0.89; P for trend = 0.02). In persons without a history of skin cancer at baseline, development of BCC was positively associated with intake of vitamins C and E from foods plus supplements (RR = 3.1, 95% CI: 1.1-8.6; P for trend = 0.03 and RR = 2.6, 95% CI: 1.1-6.3; P for trend = 0.02, respectively). In those with a skin cancer history at baseline, dietary intake in the second tertile for β-carotene (multivariable adjusted RR = 2.2, 95% CI: 1.2-4.1) and for vitamin E (multivariable adjusted RR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.1-3.9) was associated with increased BCC risk, with no trend, and similar results were seen in those with a specific history of BCC. These data suggest quite different associations between antioxidant intake and SCC compared with BCC, consistent with other evidence of their different causal pathways. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2707-2716
    Number of pages9
    JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
    Issue number18
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


    • Antioxidants
    • Basal cell carcinoma
    • Diet
    • Follow-up study
    • Skin neoplasms
    • Squamous cell carcinoma


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