This chapter discusses the aspects of the relationship between vitamin A and cancer. The lower intake of vitamin A leads to an elevated susceptibility of the animal to cancerogenic insult. The rats receiving a vitamin A-deficient diet has a higher frequency of spontaneous gastric carcinomas. The use of chemical carcinogens to produce experimental tumors with high frequency in laboratory animals shows the existence of a relationship between vitamin A and cancer. An inadequate supply of retinol (vitamin A alcohol) or its esters brings about a higher frequency of tumors. The demonstration of hyperplastic lesions of epithelial linings in vitamin A deficiency, possible alteration of vitamin A metabolism in tumor bearing patients, the effect of carcinogens on vitamin A metabolism, and occasional experiments that the dietary vitamin A level may influence the growth and incidence of experimental cancer are evident. Many tissues in vitamin A-deficient animals develop altered states of differentiation and increased rates of proliferation, which may make any carcinogen more potent. © 1983, Academic Press Inc.
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