Cochrane Summaries

Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

Antioxidant drugs for preventing lung cancer in healthy people

Cortés-Jofré M, Rueda J-R, Corsini-Muñoz G, Fonseca-Cortés C, Caraballoso M, Bonfill Cosp X
Published Online: 
17 October 2012

Lung cancer is among the leading causes of cancer death all over the world and its prevention has become a public health priority. It has been suggested that vitamin supplements may prevent lung cancer. In this new updated version of a previous review five additional studies have been added to the four previous ones. Updated analysis of the data shows that taking supplements of vitamins or minerals, either alone or combined, does not result in a reduction in either lung cancer incidence or lung cancer mortality, neither on males nor females. So current evidence does not support recommending the use of supplements of vitamins A, C and E or selenium, either alone or combined, for the prevention of lung cancer in healthy people. Indeed, in smokers and people exposed to asbestos the use of beta-carotene supplements should be avoided because it may be associated with a small increase in lung cancer incidence and mortality.