Posted on Jun 30, 2010, 6 a.m.
Study of 400,000 participants finds that those with higher blood levels of vitamin B6 and the essential amino acid methionine are at a lower risk of lung cancer.
In that deficiencies in B vitamins may increase the probability of DNA damage and subsequent gene mutations, a team of scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (France) studied whether levels of B vitamins, and related factors for carbon metabolism, affected cancer risk. Paul Brennan and colleagues analyzed data on nearly 400,000 men and women from 10 countries who were enrolled in The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, tracking for incidences of lung cancer and testing blood for serum levels of carbon metabolism. The team found a lower risk for lung cancer among participants with increasing levels of vitamin B6 (as compared to those in the lowest quartiles). As well, a lower risk was also seen for increasing methionine levels. Noting that similar and consistent decreases in risk were observed in never, former, and current smokers, indicating that results were not due to confounding [factors], the researchers conclude that: “Serum levels of vitamin B6 and methionine were inversely associated with risk of lung cancer.”
Mattias Johansson; Caroline Relton; Per Magne Ueland; Stein Emil Vollset; Paul Brennan; et . al. “Serum B Vitamin Levels and Risk of Lung Cancer.” JAMA, June 16, 2010, 303: 2377 - 2385.