03/06/2003 - News

Folate could reduce breast cancer risk

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


A new study suggests that women with high levels of B vitamins might run a reduced risk of breast cancer.

Previous work has suggested that a high intake of folic acid - or folate, the form in which it occurs in the diet - might protect women from breast cancer. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health now report a new study that seems to back this view.

They measured intake and blood levels of folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and homocysteine (an amino acid whose level is inversely related to that of folate) in two groups of women. One group comprised 712 patients with breast cancer, and the other was a group of 712 women without breast cancer drawn from the long-running Nurses Health Study.

They found that higher plasma folate levels were linked to lower risk of breast cancer - particularly among women consuming moderate amounts of alcohol. Higher plasma vitamin B6 levels were also found to be linked with reduced breast cancer risk. For vitamin B12, there was a similar link, but only among premenopausal women.


Journal of the National Cancer Institute 5th March 2003

Created on: 03/06/2003
Reviewed on: 03/06/2003

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