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Br J Cancer. 1997; 75(1): 149–155.
PMCID: PMC2222693

Vitamins C and E, retinol, beta-carotene and dietary fibre in relation to breast cancer risk: a prospective cohort study.


Association between breast cancer risk and the intake of vitamins C and E, retinol, beta (beta)-carotene, dietary fibre, vegetables, fruit and potatoes was examined in The Netherlands Cohort Study, for 62,573 women aged 55-69 years. After 4.3 years of follow-up, 650 incident breast cancer cases were identified. After adjusting for traditional risk factors, breast cancer risk was not influenced by the intake of beta-carotene, vitamin E, dietary fibre, supplements with vitamin C, vegetables or potatoes. Fruit consumption showed a non-significant inverse association with breast cancer risk (RR highest/lowest quintile = 0.76, 95% CI 0.54-1.08). A small reduction in risk was also observed with increasing intake of dietary vitamin C (RR highest/lowest quintile = 0.77, 95% CI 0.55-1.08). For retinol, a weak positive association was observed (RR highest/lowest quintile = 1.24, 95% CI 0.83-1.83). Among subjects with a high intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), both beta-carotene and vitamin C intake showed a non-significant inverse association with breast cancer risk (P-trend = 0.15 and 0.16 respectively). Our findings do not suggest a strong role, if any, for intake of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, retinol, dietary fibre, vegetables, fruit and potatoes in the aetiology of breast cancer.

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