A study on serum carotenoid levels in breast cancer patients of Indian women in Chennai (Madras), India.

Y. Ito, K. C. Gajalakshmi, R. Sasaki, K. Suzuki, V. Shanta

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Two-hundred and six breast cancer cases were histologically confirmed breast cancer diagnoses at the Cancer Institute in Chennai (Madras), India. One-hundred and fifty hospital controls were patients who had cancer at any site other than breast and gynecological organs, and 61 healthy controls were persons accompanying patients in the Cancer Institute. Serum levels of carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin & lutein were determined by HPLC. Serum levels of total carotenes and total carotenoids including beta-carotene, which reflects food intake of colored vegetables and fruits and has a protective role for certain sites of cancer, were significantly lower among breast cancer cases and hospital controls compared to healthy controls, especially in post-menopausal women. Serum carotenoid levels appeared to change with menopausal status. Serum beta-carotene levels tended to be lower among breast cancer cases than among hospital controls in premenopausal women. Serum xanthophyll levels were significantly lower among breast cancer cases than among healthy controls in post-menopausal women, but not in premenopausal women. Serum levels of retinol and alpha-tocopherol among breast cancer cases were not significantly different from those in post-menopausal healthy controls, but were higher than those in hospital controls. Serum estrone levels were significantly higher among breast cancer cases than among healthy controls, but serum levels of estradiol and estriol were not. In conclusion, Indian women with cancer of breast or of other sites might have low intake of green-yellow vegetables rich in fiber and carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin & lutein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-314
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of epidemiology / Japan Epidemiological Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11-1999


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology

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