Taking certain vitamins during breast cancer chemo tied to recurrence, death

REUTERS/Jason Reed

(Reuters Health) — Patients with breast cancer who use supplements during chemotherapy may be at an increased risk of recurrence and death, a new study suggests.

Use of dietary supplements that boost levels of antioxidants, iron, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids appeared to lower the effectiveness of chemotherapy, researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“From this study and others in the literature, it seems that it may not be wise to take supplements during chemotherapy,” said Christine Ambrosone, chair of cancer prevention and control, and senior vice president for population sciences at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York.

“It’s thought that antioxidants might interfere with the ability of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells,” Ambrosone explained. “One way chemotherapy works is by generating lots of oxidative stress. The thinking is that antioxidants may block oxidative stress and make chemotherapy less effective.” (…)

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