(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Consuming dietary vitamins C and E decreases risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to a team of UK-based researchers. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Dietary antioxidants and the aetiology of pancreatic cancer: a cohort study using data from food diaries and biomarkers,” which was published online first in Gut on July 23.

In this study, the investigators aimed to determine the effect of the dietary antioxidants vitamins C and E, selenium, and zinc on the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. To meet this aim, the investigators assessed the 7-day food diaries from 23,658 participants, aged 40 to 74 years, recruited into the EPIC-Norfolk Study. Patients completed the food diaries, which recorded foods, brands, and portion sizes. From completed surveys, nutrient intakes were calculated in patients later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer as well as in 3,970 controls.

The following results were reported. Within 10 years of study enrollment, 49 participants (55% men) developed pancreatic cancer. Decreased risk of pancreatic cancer was reported in enrollees who had consumed a combination of the highest 3 quartiles of vitamins C and E and selenium (HR=0.33, 95% CI 0.13–0.84, P<0.05). “There were threshold effects (Q2–4 vs Q1) for selenium (HR=0.49, 95% CI 0.26–0.93, P<0.05) and vitamin E (HR=0.57, 95% CI 0.29–1.09, P<0.10). For vitamin C, there was an inverse association with serum measurements (HR trend=0.67, 95% CI 0.49–0.91, P=0.01), but the threshold effect from diaries was not significant (HR=0.68, 95% CI 0.37–1.26),” the investigators reported.

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It was concluded from these results that measuring antioxidants in studies investigating the etiology of pancreatic cancer could translate into dietary changes rich in preventative levels of antioxidants.