Relationship between plasma carotenoids and prostate cancer

Nutr Cancer. 2005;53(2):127-34. doi: 10.1207/s15327914nc5302_1.


Carotenoids, particularly lycopene, are thought to decrease prostate cancer risk, but the relationship between plasma carotenoid concentrations and risk in various populations has not been well characterized. Comparing 118 non-Hispanic Caucasian men mainly from southeast Texas with nonmetastatic prostate cancer with 52 healthy men from the same area, we conducted a case-control analysis evaluating associations between risk and plasma levels of total carotenoids, beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha- and trans-beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, total lycopenes, trans-lycopene, total cis-lycopenes, and cis-lycopene isoforms 1, 2, 3, and 5. Risk for men with high plasma levels of alpha-carotene, trans-beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lutein and zeaxanthin was less than half that for those with lower levels. In contrast, we observed no significant associations for total lycopenes, all-trans-lycopene, and cis-lycopene isomer peaks 2, 3, and 5, although high levels of cis-lycopene isomer peak 1 were inversely associated with risk. Analysis of men with aggressive disease (Gleason scores of > or =7, n = 88) vs. less aggressive cases (Gleason scores of <7, n = 30) failed to reveal significant associations between carotenoid levels and the risk of diagnosis with aggressive disease. These findings suggest that, in these men, higher circulating levels of alpha-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, trans-beta-carotene, and lutein and zeaxanthin may contribute to lower prostate cancer risk but not to disease progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cryptoxanthins
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Isomerism
  • Lutein / blood
  • Lycopene
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Xanthophylls / blood
  • Zeaxanthins
  • beta Carotene / analogs & derivatives
  • beta Carotene / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Cryptoxanthins
  • Xanthophylls
  • Zeaxanthins
  • beta Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • alpha-carotene
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein