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Dietary vitamin B6, B12 and folate, may decrease pancreatic cancer risk among lean people

PHILADELPHIA − Researchers exploring the notion that certain nutrients might protect against pancreatic cancer found that lean individuals who got most of these nutrients from food were protected against developing cancer. The study also suggests this protective effect does not hold true if the nutrients come from vitamin supplements.

In a study published in the June 1 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, investigators combined data from four large studies and found that people who were at or below normal body weight decreased their risk for developing pancreatic cancer if they took in high levels of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate from food. The study determined that their risk was 81 percent, 73 percent, and 59 percent lower, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate respectively, compared with participants who did not eat as much of these nutrients or who weighed more. According to the researchers, that was the only statistically significant finding from the study, which is the largest yet to look at these nutrients and pancreatic cancer risk.

All we can say is that a person who has reason to be concerned about their risk of developing this cancer, which is relatively rare but quite deadly, should maintain a normal weight and eat their fruit and vegetables, said the studys lead investigator, Eva Schernhammer, M.D., Dr.P.H., an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The researchers also say that they uncovered another interesting trend − that some people who received these nutrients from multivitamin pills had an increased risk of developing the disease. According to the researchers, individuals who said they used multivitamins, and whose blood showed traces of these nutrients, had a 139 percent increased relative risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

This is a preliminary, but intriguing, finding because it suggests that something in the
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Contact: Greg Lester
lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
1-Jun-2007


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