Plasma and dietary carotenoids are associated with reduced oxidative stress in women previously treated for breast cancer

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Oct;16(10):2008-15. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-0350.


Dietary carotenoids show numerous biological activities, including antioxidant activity, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of mammary cell proliferation. Studies examining the role of carotenoid consumption in relation to breast cancer recurrence are limited and report mixed results. We tested the hypothesis that breast cancer survivors with high dietary and plasma carotenoids would show significantly lower levels of oxidative stress than breast cancer survivors with low dietary and plasma carotenoid levels. Two hundred seven postmenopausal breast cancer survivors from the Women's Healthy Eating and Living Study volunteered for this ancillary study. Dietary data were analyzed by the Arizona Food Frequency Questionnaire and plasma carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein plus zeaxanthin, lycopene, and beta-cryptoxanthin and quantified with high-performance liquid chromatography, and immunoaffinity chromatography-monoclonal antibody-based ELISAs were used to analyze the urine samples for 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OhdG) and 8-iso-prostaglandin-F2alpha (8-iso-PGF2alpha). The correlations between dietary and plasma carotenoids were 0.34 for beta-carotene, 0.46 for alpha-carotene, 0.39 for beta-cryptoxanthin, 0.27 for lycopene, 0.30 for lutein plus zeaxanthin, and 0.30 for total carotenoids. The 8-OHdG oxidative stress biomarker was significantly reduced at the highest quartile of total plasma carotenoid concentrations (P = 0.001) and 8-iso-PGF2alpha was moderately reduced (P = 0.088). Dietary carotenoid levels were not significantly associated with oxidative, stress indicators, although dietary lycopene and lutein/zeaxanthin were modestly associated with 8-OHdG levels (P = 0.054 and 0.088, respectively). Key findings include a significant inverse association between total plasma carotenoid concentrations and oxidative stress as measured by urinary 8-OHdG and a moderately significant inverse association with 8-iso-PGF2alpha, a protective association that was not shown for dietary carotenoid intake.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diet therapy*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*


  • Carotenoids