Intakes of vitamins A, C and E and folate and multivitamins and lung cancer: a pooled analysis of 8 prospective studies

Int J Cancer. 2006 Feb 15;118(4):970-8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21441.


Intakes of vitamins A, C and E and folate have been hypothesized to reduce lung cancer risk. We examined these associations in a pooled analysis of the primary data from 8 prospective studies from North America and Europe. Baseline vitamin intake was assessed using a validated food-frequency questionnaire, in each study. We calculated study-specific associations and pooled them using a random-effects model. During follow-up of 430,281 persons over a maximum of 6-16 years in the studies, 3,206 incident lung cancer cases were documented. Vitamin intakes were inversely associated with lung cancer risk in age-adjusted analyses; the associations were greatly attenuated after adjusting for smoking and other risk factors for lung cancer. The pooled multivariate relative risks, comparing the highest vs. lowest quintile of intake from food-only, were 0.96 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83-1.11) for vitamin A, 0.80 (95% CI 0.71-0.91) for vitamin C, 0.86 (95% CI 0.76-0.99) for vitamin E and 0.88 (95% CI 0.74-1.04) for folate. The association with vitamin C was not independent of our previously reported inverse association with beta-cryptoxanthin. Further, vitamin intakes from foods plus supplements were not associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer in multivariate analyses, and use of multivitamins and specific vitamin supplements was not significantly associated with lung cancer risk. The results generally did not differ across studies or by sex, smoking habits and lung cancer cell type. In conclusion, these data do not support the hypothesis that intakes of vitamins A, C and E and folate reduce lung cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin A / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Ascorbic Acid