Epidemiologic cohort studies based on blood carotenoid intakes as biomarkers of consumption of fruits and vegetable in individuals are still scare and findings are discrepant. The study population included women in the E3N Study, the large French component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). During an average of 7 years follow-up, 366 cases of incident invasive breast cancer (84 premenopausal women and 282 postmenopausal women) among 19,934 women who completed a dietary questionnaire and had available blood samples at baseline (1995-1998) were included in the study. Controls were randomly matched on age, menopausal status at blood collection, fasting status at blood collection, date and collection center. Serum carotenoids, tocopherols and retinol concentrations were assessed by high pressure liquid chromatography. Odds ratios for breast cancer risk adjusted for established breast cancer risk factors were calculated by quintile of serum micronutrient concentrations. No significant associations between breast cancer risk and serum carotenoids (highest versus lowest quintile, odds ratio (OR) = 0.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.47-1.16, p for trend 0.38), tocopherols (OR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.41-1.10, p for trend 0.26) and retinol (OR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.53-1.35, p for trend 0.34) were found. Our findings did not support the hypothesis that lipophilic antioxidant micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables protect against breast cancer, at least in postmenopausal women.
Serum carotenoid, tocopherol and retinol concentrations and breast cancer risk in the E3N-EPIC study