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Folate and cancer

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

"Increased intake of folate from food sources, but not from supplements, may be associated with a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer," Susanna Larsson, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden, et al., conclude in the March 15 Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Authors prospectively followed 81,922 women and men who completed a 96-item food and supplement frequency questionnaire in 1997. Incidence of pancreatic cancer was ascertained through national and regional cancer registers. Each participant was followed from Jan. 1, 1998 through date of pancreatic cancer diagnosis, death from any cause, migration or Dec. 31, 2004, whichever occurred first. Although dietary folate was inversely associated with pancreatic cancer, "there was no association between folic acid from supplements and pancreatic cancer risk." The reasons for the different effects are "unclear," according to the authors. However "one possibility is that folate from food sources better represents long-term folate intake than folic acid from (recent and possibly irregular) use of supplements, and long-term regular exposure to folate may be more relevant to carcinogenesis"...

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