Nutritional factors and the risk of cervical dysplasia

Rena Sue McPherson, The University of Texas School of Public Health


A case comparison study of 159 women was conducted to test the hypotheses that women with cervical dysplasia had a higher prevalence of low dietary intakes of carotenoids, vitamin C, and folacin than women without cervical dysplasia, and that there would be no association between the risk of having cervical dysplasia and dietary intake of retinol. Information regarding the prevalence of known risk factors for cervical dysplasia, early age at first intercourse, multiple sexual partners, early age at first pregnancy, history of having sexually transmitted diseases, cigarette smoking, and sociodemographic data was collected. Dietary intake was estimated using a 97 item quantified food frequency questionnaire designed to obtain information on consumption of all sources of retinol, carotenoids, vitamin C and folacin. Univariate analyses showed that the presence of cervical dysplasia was positively and significantly associated with all the risk factors. In analyses of the association of the dietary variables with cervical dysplasia, information on carotenoid intake was calculated in two ways, as total carotenoid intake and as intake of lycopene and other carotenoids. While there appeared to be an inverse association between the presence of cervical dysplasia and intakes of lycopene and folacin, lower intake of retinol, total carotenoids, other carotenoids (non-lycopene carotenoids) or vitamin C did not increase the risk of having cervical dysplasia. Multivariable analyses showed that, in comparison to women who usually consume 105 RE/day of lycopene, the odds of having cervical dysplasia for women who consume 31-104 RE/day and 30 RE/day or less were 1.31 and 1.66 respectively. The odds of having cervical dysplasia in women who consume 199-396 mcg/day and 198 mcg/day or less of folacin were 2.66 and 2.97 respectively as compared to women who usually consume 397 mcg/day or more. These results suggest the importance of re-evaluating existing dietary data and planning in future studies to evaluate the associations of lycopene and folacin with cervical cancer, as well as to extend these results to other diet/cancer investigations.

Subject Area

Public health|Nutrition

Recommended Citation

McPherson, Rena Sue, "Nutritional factors and the risk of cervical dysplasia" (1988). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9020181.