Effect of supplementation with β-carotene and vitamin A on lung nutrient levels

Carrie A. Redlich, William S. Blaner, Ariëtte M. Van Bennekum, Joyce S. Chung, Sarah L. Clever, Carole T. Holm, Mark R. Cullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), a randomized, placebo- controlled lung cancer chemoprevention trial of 30 mg of β-carotene and 25,000 IU of retinyl palmitate, was prematurely terminated when a 46% excess lung cancer mortality was found in subjects on the active arm. Before the CARET intervention ended, 21 men were recruited to participate in a 6-month biomarker study using the same intervention as CARET that determined the effect of this supplementation on lung nutrient levels. Plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cell nutrient levels were measured before and after the intervention. The group in the active arm (n = 10) had plasma β- carotene level increases of over 10-fold, with a small increase in plasma retinol levels. BAL cell levels of β-carotene in the active group also increased 10-fold, from 4.5 to 46.3 pmol/106 cells (P = 0.0008), with no change in BAL cell retinol levels. Surgically obtained lung tissue from three CARET subjects in the active arm showed elevated β-carotene lung tissue levels but no increase in lung retinol levels compared to a group of surgical controls. Combined with our previous work showing a strong correlation between BAL and lung tissue nutrient levels, these findings suggest that supplementation with β-carotene and vitamin A results in increased lung tissue as well as BAL cell levels of β-carotene, with little change in lung retinol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-214
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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