Publications scientifiques


Multivitamins in the prevention of cancer in men: the Physicians' Health Study II randomized controlled trial.


Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02120, USA.



Multivitamin preparations are the most common dietary supplement, taken by at least one-third of all US adults. Observational studies have not provided evidence regarding associations of multivitamin use with total and site-specific cancer incidence or mortality.


To determine whether long-term multivitamin supplementation decreases the risk of total and site-specific cancer events among men.


A large-scale, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial (Physicians" Health Study II) of 14 641 male US physicians initially aged 50 years or older (mean [SD] age, 64.3 [9.2] years), including 1312 men with a history of cancer at randomization, enrolled in a common multivitamin study that began in 1997 with treatment and follow-up through June 1, 2011.


Daily multivitamin or placebo.


Total cancer (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer), with prostate, colorectal, and other site-specific cancers among the secondary end points.


During a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 11.2 (10.7-13.3) years, there were 2669 men with confirmed cancer, including 1373 cases of prostate cancer and 210 cases of colorectal cancer. Compared with placebo, men taking a daily multivitamin had a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of total cancer (multivitamin and placebo groups, 17.0 and 18.3 events, respectively, per 1000 person-years; hazard ratio [HR], 0.92; 95% CI, 0.86-0.998; P=.04). There was no significant effect of a daily multivitamin on prostate cancer (multivitamin and placebo groups, 9.1 and 9.2 events, respectively, per 1000 person-years; HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.88-1.09; P=.76), colorectal cancer (multivitamin and placebo groups, 1.2 and 1.4 events, respectively, per 1000 person-years; HR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.68-1.17; P=.39), or other site-specific cancers. There was no significant difference in the risk of cancer mortality (multivitamin and placebo groups, 4.9 and 5.6 events, respectively, per 1000 person-years; HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.77-1.01; P=.07). Daily multivitamin use was associated with a reduction in total cancer among 1312 men with a baseline history of cancer (HR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.56-0.96; P=.02), but this did not differ significantly from that among 13 329 men initially without cancer (HR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.87-1.02; P=.15; P for interaction=.07). Conclusion In this large prevention trial of male physicians, daily multivitamin supplementation modestly but significantly reduced the risk of total cancer.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT00270647.

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