New meta-analysis shows carotenoids (e.g., carrots, pumpkin, green beans, etc.) protective against breast cancer.

The purpose of this article is to comprehensively summarize the associations between carotenoids and breast cancer and quantitatively estimate their dose-response relationships.

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Jan;131(1):239-53. Epub 2011 Sep 7.


We searched PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases (from January 1982 to 1 May 2011) and the references of the relevant articles in English with sufficient information to estimate relative risk or odds ratio and the 95% confidence intervals, and comparable categories of carotenoids. Two reviewers independently extracted data using a standardized form; with any discrepancy adjudicated by the third reviewer. 33 studies met the inclusion criteria.

Comparing the highest with the lowest intake: dietary α-carotene intake significantly reduced the breast cancer risk by 9.0% (pooled RR = 0.91; 95% CI: 0.85-0.98; P = 0.01), dietary β-carotene intake reduced the risk by 6.0% (pooled RR = 0.94; 95% CI: 0.88-1.00; P = 0.05); total β-carotene intake reduced the risk by 5.0% (pooled RR = 0.95; 95% CI: 0.90-1.01; P = 0.08) when data from cohort studies were pooled.

Significant dose-response relationships were observed in both the higher intake of dietary and total β-carotene with reduced breast cancer risk when data from cohort studies (P (trend) < 0.01, P (trend) = 0.03) and case-control studies (P (trend) < 0.01, P (trend) < 0.01) were pooled, respectively.

Dietary α-carotene intake could reduce the breast cancer risk.

The relationships between dietary and total β-carotene intake and breast cancer need to be confirmed.

No significant association between dietary intake of β-cryptoxanthin, lutein/+zeaxanthin, and lycopene and breast cancer was observed.


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