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13 Sep 2020
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Circulating unmetabolized folic acid ups risk of breast cancer

6 days ago

The presence of unmetabolized folic acid (UMFA) in the circulation appears to increase the risk of breast cancer, results of a nested case-control study have shown.

“Folates found in natural foods are thought to protect against cancer,” the authors said. “However, folic acid, a synthetic form of folate used in supplements and fortified foods, may increase breast cancer risk if present in unmetabolized form in the circulation.”

This nested case-control study was conducted in a prospective cohort, in which 553 patients with invasive breast cancer, diagnosed before mandatory folic acid fortification of grain in the US in 1998, were individually matched to 1,059 controls.

Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry was used to measure serum UMFA as well as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-mTHF) in stored samples. The latter was also corrected for storage degradation.

No association was found between serum UMFA and breast cancer risk. The proportion of women with detectable levels of UMFA was comparable between cases and controls (18 percent vs 20 percent; p=0.46). Two tag-single nucleotide polymorphisms in the promoter region of the folic acid-metabolizing gene also did not correlate with the risk.

On the other hand, a marginally significant inverse association was noted between 5-mTHFcorrected and breast cancer risk (odds ratio for the highest vs lowest quintile, 0.69, 95 percent confidence interval, 0.49–0.97; ptrend=0.08).

“These results apply to countries without mandatory folic acid food fortification,” the authors said. “Studies are needed in countries with mandatory fortification, where levels of UMFA are much higher than in our study.”

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Most Read Articles
13 Sep 2020
Regardless of birth weight, being obese at preschool age is associated with a greater risk of elevated blood pressure during early childhood, a recent China study has found. A longer duration of breastfeeding appears to help mitigate such a risk.
Jairia Dela Cruz, 3 days ago
In patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) receiving angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, high dosing confers benefits for the risk of death or hospitalization that are similar to that obtained with lower dosing, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.
06 Sep 2020
Type 2 diabetes mellitus patients taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are at a higher risk of sustaining hip fractures, a recent study has found.
5 days ago
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common condition affecting the joints. Dr Lee Eu Jin, an Orthopaedic Surgeon from Liberty Orthopaedic Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore, shares his insights with Pearl Toh on how to manage OA in the primary care setting.