J Nutr 2000 (Feb); 130 (2S Suppl): 338S–339S
Laboratory for Cancer Research,
College of Pharmacy, Rutgers,
The State University of New Jersey,
Piscataway 08854, USA
Nitrosamines have been suspected in the etiology of esophageal/gastric cardia cancer in the high incidence area of Linxian of the Henan Province in northern China, but marginal deficiencies in riboflavin, vitamins A and C, and other micronutrients may also be involved. A joint U.S.-China nutritional intervention study with investigators from the Cancer Institute of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the U.S. National Cancer Institute tested the effects of the following four combinations of nutrients on 29,584 subjects in an eight-group design: 1) retinol and zinc; 2) riboflavin and niacin; 3) vitamin C and molybdenum; and 4) vitamin E, beta-carotene and selenium. Supplementation with Group 4 nutrients significantly decreased mortality rate from stomach cancer, primarily due to the decrease in deaths resulting from adenocarcinomas of the gastric cardia; it lowered the total mortality rate and showed signs of other beneficial effects. Another study of nutrition and gastric cancer in a high incidence area of Linqu of the Shangdong province in northern China (in collaboration with the Beijing Institute for Cancer Research and the U. S. National Institutes of Health) found significantly lower serum concentrations of vitamin C and beta-carotene among individuals with intestinal metaplasia; an intervention trial with vitamins C and E and selenium (combined) is ongoing in Linqu. Other studies are also elucidating the mechanisms for the pathogenesis of adenocarcinoma at the gastroesophageal junction with the use of a rat model. Such studies are expected to shed light on the etiology and prevention of gastroesophageal cancers in humans.