If You Smoke, Try Vitamin A
March 30, 2001 (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A synthetic vitamin A compound may have substantial benefits for those who smoke, say researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Researchers found the vitamin A compound, 4-HPR, can significantly decrease telomerase activity in smokers. Telomerase is an enzyme that is a key factor in cancer development and an active in up to 90 percent of lung cancers. Researchers studied nearly 60 heavy smokers with no signs of lung cancer. About half of the patients in the study received the vitamin A compound while the other half received a placebo.
At the beginning of the study, researchers measured evidence of telomerase in each patient. Before treatment, telomerase activity was similar in both groups. At the end of the study however, researchers found activity rose from 65.3 percent to 68.1 percent in the placebo group. In the group treated with the vitamin A compound, activity decreased from 62.4 percent to 45.6 percent, thereby significantly reducing the risk of lung cancer.
Results of the study were presented this week at the meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans.