Link between risk of colorectal cancer and serum vitamin E levels: A meta-analysis of case–control studies

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Abstract

Background:

The effect of low serum vitamin E levels on the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) remains inconclusive. This meta-analysis aims to synthesize relevant studies to evaluate the association between serum vitamin E and the risk of CRC based on case–control studies.

Methods:

Potentially relevant studies were selected by searching PubMed, EMBASE, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure databases according to inclusion and exclusion criteria. The association between serum vitamin E levels and CRC was estimated by the weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) using a random-effects model. Heterogeneity was evaluated using Q test and I2 statistic. Subgroup analysis was conducted to explore sources of heterogeneity. Sensitivity analysis was performed to reveal stability and reliability.

Results:

A total of 10 papers with 11 studies, including 6431 subjects with 520 CRC patients and 5981 controls, were included in this present meta-analysis. The results indicated that compared with healthy controls, patients with CRC showed lower concentrations of serum vitamin E (WMD = −2.994 μmol/L, 95% CI = −4.395 to −1.593). Ethnicity subgroup analysis indicated that the serum vitamin E levels were lower in European (WMD = −1.82 μmol/L, 95% CI = −3.00 to −0.65), but not in Asian. Control-source subgroup analysis revealed that a significant association was observed in subgroup with hospital-based controls (WMD = −3.43 μmol/L, 95% CI = −6.27 to −0.59), but not in those with population-based controls. Sensitivity analysis suggested no significant difference in the pooled estimates, indicating stable results.

Conclusions:

CRC is associated with a lower concentration of serum vitamin E. However, necessary prospective cohort studies should be conducted to assess the effect of serum vitamin E on the risk of CRC in the future.

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