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Plasma Folate, Vitamin B12, and Homocysteine and Cancers of the Esophagus, Stomach, and Liver in a Chinese Population

Chang, Shen-Chih, Goldstein, Binh Y., Mu, Lina, Cai, Lin, You, Nai-Chieh Y., He, Na, Ding, Bao-Guo, Zhao, Jin-Kou, Yu, Shun-Zhang, Heber, David, Zhang, Zuo-Feng, Lu, Qing-Yi
Nutrition and cancer 2015 v.67 no.2 pp. 212-223
blood, case-control studies, confidence interval, esophageal neoplasms, esophagus, folic acid, food fortification, homocysteine, interviews, liver, liver neoplasms, metabolism, nutrition, odds ratio, questionnaires, risk, stomach, stomach neoplasms, vitamin B12, China
Evidence is accumulating regarding a role of micronutrients in folate metabolism in cancer risk. We investigated the associations of plasma folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine with upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancers in a population-based case-control study in Taixing City, China. With informed consent, we recruited cases with cancers of esophagus (n = 218), stomach (n = 206), and liver (n = 204), and one common healthy control group (n = 405). A standardized epidemiologic questionnaire was used in face-to-face interviews, and blood samples were collected during interviews. We observed an inverse association between plasma folate levels and liver cancer. The adjusted odds ratio (aOR) was 0.46 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.24–0.88] comparing individuals in the highest quartile to those in the lowest. We found a positive association between plasma vitamin B12 levels and all three cancers. The aORs for those in the highest quartile were 2.80 (95% CI = 1.51–5.18) for esophageal cancer, 2.17 (1.21–3.89) for stomach cancer, and 9.97 (4.82–20.60) for liver cancer, comparing to those in the lowest quartile. We further observed interaction between plasma folate and vitamin B12 on these cancers. Our data indicated associations between plasma folate and vitamin B12 with upper GI cancers in Chinese population. Further research is warranted considering the debate over the necessity of food fortification.