The study – published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute – investigated the relationship between vitamin E intake and liver cancer risk in more than 130,000 Chinese people. Led by Dr Wei Zhang of the Shanghai Cancer Institute, China, the researchers revealed that high consumption of the fat soluble vitamin, either from diet or supplements, could significantly lower the risk of liver cancer.
"We found a clear, inverse dose-response relation between vitamin E intake and liver cancer risk," said Zhang and his colleagues, adding that they did find a small difference between men and women in the risk estimate – which is likely attributable to fewer liver cancer cases having occurred among male.
However, they reiterated that "high intake of vitamin E either from diet or supplements was related to lower risk of liver cancer in middle-aged or older people from China."
To determine the relationship between vitamin E intake and liver cancer risk Zhang and colleagues analysed data from a total of 132,837 individuals in China who were enrolled in the Shanghai Women's Health Study (SWHS) from 1997-2000 or the Shanghai Men's Health Study (SMHS) from 2002-2006 – two population-based cohort studies jointly conducted by the Shanghai Cancer Institute and Vanderbilt University.
Using validated food-frequency questionnaires, the researchers conducted in-person interviews to gather data on study participants' dietary habits. They compared liver cancer risk among participants who had high intake of vitamin E with those with low intake.
Analysis from the study revealed that vitamin E intake from diet and supplement use were both associated with a lower risk of liver cancer.
“This association was consistent among participants with and without self-reported liver disease or a family history of liver cancer,” said the authors.
Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1093/jnci/djs277
“Vitamin Intake and Liver Cancer Risk: A Report From Two Cohort Studies in China”
Authors: W. Zhang, X-O. Shu, H. Li, G. Yang, et al