LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. Dr. Susan Preston-Martin of the Norris Comprehensive
Cancer Center reports that women who take vitamin-A, vitamin-C, vitamin-E and
folic acid (folate) during pregnancy reduce their risk of having a child who
develops a brain tumor before the age of five years. Dr. Preston-Martin
presented her findings at a recent conference on preventable causes of cancer in
children. She studied 377 children with brain tumors and 576 matched controls
and found that the longer the women took the supplements the greater the
protection appeared to be. Taking supplements was also found to be protective
against brain tumors caused by a diet high in nitrites from cured meats. Women
who consumed such a diet increased their risk of having a child who developed a
brain tumor by a factor of 2.6. In comparison, women who took vitamins during
pregnancy had only a 1.8-fold increase in the risk with a high-nitrite diet.
Dr. Preston-Martin speculates that part of the protective effect may be due to
the antioxidant effects of vitamins C and E which prevent the formation of
carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds in the body.