Intake of antioxidant nutrients and the risk of skin cancer

M.M. Heinen, M.C. Hughes, T.I. Ibiebele, G.C. Marks, A.C. Green, J.C. van der Pols

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49 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the associations between intake of antioxidant nutrients and risk of basal cell (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the skin, we carried out a prospective study among 1001 randomly selected adults living in an Australian community. Intake of antioxidants was estimated in 1996. Incident, histologically-confirmed BCC and SCC were recorded between 1996 and 2004. High dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin was associated with a reduced incidence of SCC in persons who had a history of skin cancer at baseline (highest versus lowest tertile, multivariable adjusted relative risk (RR) = 0.47, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.25¿0.89; P for trend = 0.02). In persons without a history of skin cancer at baseline, development of BCC was positively associated with intake of vitamins C and E from foods plus supplements (RR = 3.1, 95% CI: 1.1¿8.6; P for trend = 0.03 and RR = 2.6, 95% CI: 1.1¿6.3; P for trend = 0.02, respectively). In those with a skin cancer history at baseline, dietary intake in the second tertile for ß-carotene (multivariable adjusted RR = 2.2, 95% CI: 1.2¿4.1) and for vitamin E (multivariable adjusted RR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.1¿3.9) was associated with increased BCC risk, with no trend, and similar results were seen in those with a specific history of BCC. These data suggest quite different associations between antioxidant intake and SCC compared with BCC, consistent with other evidence of their different causal pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2707-2716
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • basal-cell carcinoma
  • food-frequency questionnaire
  • beta-carotene
  • vitamin-e
  • personal characteristics
  • australian population
  • prevention trial
  • sun exposure
  • in-vivo
  • supplementation

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