Cancer Rate Slightly Lower in Multivitamin Users: JAMA Study

October 17, 2012

The Physicians Health Study II assigned nearly 15,000 U.S. physicians to Centrum Silver or placebo for over a decade.

Multivitamin use slightly lowered cancer rates in a clinical trial on nearly 15,000 male U.S. physicians published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

In the Physicians Health Study (PHS) II, subjects were assigned to a daily multivitamin (Centrum Silver) or placebo for over a decade, and cancer rates were compared during follow-up.

A total of 2669 men had confirmed cancer during follow-up. The placebo group checked in at an average of 18.3 cancer events for every 1000 person-years, but the multivitamin group showed a modest reduction in cancer rates, with 17 cancer events for every 1000 person-years. Even among men with a history of cancer, multivitamin users experienced fewer cases of confirmed cancer.

No significant effect was reported for multivitamin use with site-specific cancers, such as prostate cancer and colon cancer.

According to a recent consumer survey on dietary supplements commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC), an estimated 52% of U.S. adults claim to be regular users of multivitamins.

Results of the Physicians Health Study (PHS) II will be presented at an upcoming meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.