The relationship between serum carotenoid levels and cancer death in rural Japanese residents, aged more than 39 years, was examined epidemiologically. The follow-up subjects participated in the comprehensive health examinations, every August from 1986 to 1989, were 929 males and 1424 females, living in a rural area of Hokkaido, Japan. During 2-8 years to December 1994, the ninety-eight deaths were observed among the cohort; that is, deaths from all causes were 67 males and 31 females, and cancer deaths were 34 males and 10 females. Serum samples at fasting were collected at the entry of the cohort and serum levels of β-carotene, a carotene and lycopene were measured by the HPLC method. The relation between the mortality rates and serum carotenoid levels was estimated statistically using the Cox's proportional hazard model. The results were as follows; the hazard ratio with the overall on high serum β-carotene levels to those of lower was 0.46 (95% C.I.-.0.27-0.78) for all causes and 0.33 (95% C.I.:0.14-0.75) for cancer deaths. This result suqqested that hiqh levels of serum β-carotene may play some roles on preventing cancer death.
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