Effects of beta-carotene supplements on cancer prevention: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Young Jee Jeon, Seung Kwon Myung, Eun Hyun Lee, Yeol Kim, Yoon Jung Chang, Woong Ju, Hong Jun Cho, Hong Gwan Seo, Bong Yul Huh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This meta-analysis aimed to investigate the effects of beta-carotene supplements alone on cancer prevention as reported by randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and CENTRAL. Among the 848 articles searched, 6 randomized controlled trials, including 40,544 total participants, 20,290 in beta-carotene supplement groups, and 20,254 in placebo groups, were included in the final analysis. In a meta-analysis of 6 RCTs, beta-carotene supplements had no preventive effect on either cancer incidence [relative risk (RR) = 1.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.99-1.18] or cancer mortality (RR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.87-1.15). Similar findings were observed in both primary prevention trials and secondary prevention trials. Subgroup analyses by various factors revealed no preventive effect of beta-carotene supplementation on cancer prevention and that it significantly increased the risk of urothelial cancer, especially bladder cancer (RR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.03-2.24) and marginally increased the risk of cancer among current smokers (RR = 1.07, 95% CI = 0.99-1.17). The current meta-analysis of RCTs indicated that there is no clinical evidence to support the overall primary or secondary preventive effect of beta-carotene supplements on cancer. The potential effects, either beneficial or harmful, of beta-carotene supplementation on cancer should not be overemphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1196-1207
Number of pages12
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of beta-carotene supplements on cancer prevention: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this