Vitamin A Cousin May Help Prevent Lung Cancer
FL, 25 May 2002
have discovered that a "cousin" of vitamin A may reverse damage
that smoking causes in lungs. Even though smokers who quit reduce
their risk of developing cancer, the damage done to the lungs does
not immediately go away. Half of the lung cancer cases in the US
are former smokers.
such as vitamins A, C and E are often touted as cancer fighters,
but for lung cancer, megadoses of these vitamins have not been shown
to be helpful. In looking for alternatives, a team led by Dr. Jonathan
Kurie of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston tried a cousin
of vitamin A called 9-cis retinoic acid, which has prevented the
development of breast cancer in animals injected with human breast
study divided 226 former smokers into three groups. One was given
9-cis retinoic acid; another got 13-cis retinoic acid plus alpha
tocopherol, a form of vitamin E; the third received a placebo. Biopsies
of lung tissue were taken before and after treatment.
9-cis retinoic acid significantly decreased or reversed the precancerous
state, compared to 13-cis retinoic acid or placebo," said Dr. Charles
Balch, executive vice president of the American Society of Clinical
Oncology, which featured the study at its annual conference in Orlando.
researchers conclude that the findings are promising enough to justify
further experiments. Followup with these patients will be needed
to see if the changes mean they do not develop lung cancer.