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Antioxidants Could Increase Cancer Rates

29 January 2014 2:00 pm
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Risky? Consuming a moderate dose of vitamin E spurred lung tumor growth in cancer-prone mice.

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Risky? Consuming a moderate dose of vitamin E spurred lung tumor growth in cancer-prone mice.

Many people take vitamins such as A, E, and C thinking that their antioxidant properties will ward off cancer. But some clinical trials have suggested that such antioxidants, which sop up DNA-damaging molecules called free radicals, have the opposite effect and raise cancer risk in certain people. Now, in a provocative study that raises unsettling questions about the widespread use of vitamin supplements, Swedish researchers have showed that relatively low doses of antioxidants spur the growth of early lung tumors in cancer-prone mice, perhaps by hindering a well-known tumor suppressor gene.

For the full story, see this week's issue of Science.

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