BACKGROUND - Epidemiologic studies on the relationship between vitamin intake and liver cancer risk are sparse and inconsistent.
METHODS - We evaluated vitamin intake from diet and supplements and risk of liver cancer in 132,837 women and men from China who were recruited into the Shanghai Women's Health Study from 1997 to 2000 or the Shanghai Men's Health Study from 2002 to 2006. In-person interviews, using a validated food-frequency questionnaire, were conducted to collect data on dietary habits. Follow-up consisted of in-person surveys and record linkage. Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using Cox proportional hazard models with adjustment for potential confounders to compare liver cancer risk among participants with high vs low vitamin intake. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS - After excluding the first 2 years of follow-up, 267 participants (including 118 women and 149 men) developed liver cancer during an average of 10.9 (Shanghai Women's Health Study) or 5.5 (Shanghai Men's Health Study) years of follow-up. Dietary vitamin E intake was inversely associated with liver cancer risk (P(trend) = .01), as was vitamin E supplement use (hazard ratio = 0.52, 95% confidence interval = 0.30 to 0.90). This association was consistent among participants with and without self-reported liver disease or a family history of liver cancer. Vitamin C and multivitamin use was associated with increased risk among participants with self-reported liver disease or family history of liver cancer, whereas intake of vitamin C and other vitamins from dietary sources was unrelated to liver cancer risk.
CONCLUSIONS - Vitamin E intake, either from diet or supplements, may reduce the risk of liver cancer.