Cancer Research UK urges caution over dismissal of protective effects of vitamins

In collaboration with the Press Association

A high intake of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene may not provide any protection against prostate cancer, suggests a US study.

Previous studies of the relationship between antioxidants and prostate cancer have proved inconclusive. Cancer Research UK has reacted cautiously to the announcement.

"The jury is still out on the link between vitamin E supplements and cancer prevention," said Cancer Research UK information officer Henry Scowcroft.

"A number of studies are still ongoing and are due to report over the next few years."

The US National Cancer Institute study followed the health of 29,361 men over an average four years, 1,338 of whom developed prostate cancer.

Researchers said that they were unable to find any association between vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene and prostate cancer.

The study also suggested that vitamin E may lower the risk of advanced prostate cancer for smokers and ex-smokers, but Cancer Research UK urged "caution" on the finding.

"The best health advice to smokers is simply to give up smoking if they want to reduce their risk of cancer and other chronic diseases," said Mr Scowcroft.