Serum B vitamin levels and risk of lung cancer

The following study found a radically reduced rate of lung cancer for those with the highest levels of vitamin B6, folate, and the amino acid methionine, all of which are involved in methylation status.

 Serum B vitamin levels and risk of lung cancer.

Abstract CONTEXT: B vitamins and factors related to 1-carbon metabolism help to maintain DNA integrity and regulate gene expression and may affect cancer risk. […]

RESULTS: Within the entire EPIC cohort, the age-standardized incidence rates of lung cancer (standardized to the world population, aged 35-79 years) were 6.6, 44.9, and 156.1 per 100,000 person-years among never, former, and current smokers for men, respectively. The corresponding incidence rates for women were 7.1, 23.9, and 100.9 per 100,000 person-years, respectively. After accounting for smoking, a lower risk for lung cancer was seen for elevated serum levels of B(6) (fourth vs first quartile OR, 0.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.33-0.60; P for trend <.000001), as well as for serum methionine (fourth vs first quartile OR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.39-0.69; P for trend <.000001). Similar and consistent decreases in risk were observed in never, former, and current smokers, indicating that results were not due to confounding 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. A lower risk was also seen for serum folate (fourth vs first quartile OR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.51-0.90; P for trend = .001), although this was apparent only for former and current smokers. When participants were classified by median levels of serum methionine and B(6), having above-median levels of both was associated with a lower lung cancer risk overall (OR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.31-0.54), as well as separately among never (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.18-0.72), former (OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.34-0.76), and current smokers (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.27-0.65).


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