Recently nontoxic natural compounds are getting immense importance for the prevention of diseases of different etiology. Natural product provitamin A “carotenoids”, largely α-carotene, β-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin, are typical constituents of orange/red/yellow colored fruits and green vegetables. Different in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that carotenoids possess the capacity to scavenge DNA damaging free radicals, suppress angiogenesis, inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. Epidemiological reports of case-control studies, nested case-control studies, and cohort studies support significant association between dietary intake and circulating levels of carotenoids and reduction in cancer risk/carcinoma of various organs. However, randomized trials regarding β-carotene supplementation, alone or in combination with other supplements, have not always well corroborated with this. Of seven trials, one observed a significant benefit on cancer mortality, four reported no significant benefit or harm, while the remaining two trials found an unexpected, but significant increase in lung cancer incidence. This review discusses implications and significance of carotenoids in the field of cancer risk and prevention.
Keywords: Cancer risk, carotenoids, clinical, epidemiology, natural compound, preclinical, prevention, provitamin A “carotenoids”, -carotene, -carotene, and -cryptoxanthin,, scavenge DNA damaging free radicals, cancer mortality, lung cancer, chemopreventive
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