Background: Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women worldwide. In Asia, Pakistan has the highest number of patients of breast cancer. Chronic inflammation and hormonal imbalances contribute to the redox disruption thus increasing ROS that changes gene expression resulting in carcinogenesis. Antioxidants like Vitamin A may help reduce tissue-level inflammation through different mechanisms by maintaining redox balance within the tissue.
Methods: This cross sectional comparative study was used to measure the serum level of vitamin A in breast cancer patients and in apparently healthy women of same age group to determine the involvement, if any, of this vitamin in breast cancer etiology. Out of 90 women that were recruited, 60 were breast cancer patients and 30 were apparently healthy women.
Results: Vitamin A level in serum was measured by Enzyme Linked Immunosorbant Assay (ELISA). Serum vitamin A level was lower than the WHO reference values (30-90μg/dl) in all patients (18.62±4.43μg/dl) and apparently healthy women (19.59±3.40μg/dl). Although no difference was seen between patients and controls (p=0.274), nevertheless, more women (28.3%) were severely deficient in vitamin A than normal (6.7%) women. Increase in age significantly decreased vitamin A in both normal and breast cancer patients. Vitamin A level in serum was generally low, when matched with international reference values in patients than apparently healthy women.
Conclusion: It is concluded that deficiency of vitamin A might lead to metabolic disturbances that can contribute to the development of cancers like breast cancer.
Keywords: breast cancer, ROS, vitamin A, anti oxidants