Treatment With B Vitamins and Incidence of Cancer in Patients With Previous Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To determine the effect of B vitamin treatment on the incidence of cancer among patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack. METHODS: A total of 8164 patients with recent stroke or transient ischemic attack were randomly allocated to double-blind treatment with 1 tablet daily of placebo or B vitamins (2 mg folic acid, 25 mg vitamin B(6), 500 μg vitamin B(12)) and followed for a median of 3.4 years for any cancer as an adverse event. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the incidence of any cancer among participants assigned B vitamins compared with placebo (4.04% versus 4.59%; risk ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.70-1.07) and no difference in cancer mortality (2.35% versus 2.09%; risk ratio, 1.09; 0.81-1.46). Among 1899 patients with diabetes, the incidence of cancer was higher among participants assigned B vitamins compared with placebo (5.35% versus 3.28%; adjusted risk ratio, 2.21; 1.31-3.73), whereas among 6168 patients without diabetes, the incidence of cancer was lower among participants assigned B vitamins compared with placebo (3.66% versus 5.03%; adjusted risk ratio, 0.67; 0.51-0.87; P for interaction=0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Daily administration of folic acid, vitamin B(6), and vitamin B(12) to 8164 patients with recent stroke or transient ischemic attack for a median of 3.4 years had no significant effect, compared with placebo, on cancer incidence or mortality. However, a post hoc subgroup analysis raises the hypothesis that folic acid treatment may increase the incidence of cancer among diabetics and reduce the incidence of cancer among nondiabetics with a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack.

authors

  • Hankey, Graeme J
  • Eikelboom, John
  • Yi, Qilong
  • Lees, Kennedy R
  • Chen, Christopher
  • Xavier, Denis
  • Navarro, Jose C
  • Ranawaka, Udaya K
  • Uddin, Wasim
  • Ricci, Stefano
  • Gommans, John
  • Schmidt, Reinhold

publication date

  • June 2012

published in