Lower risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in women with high plasma folate and sufficient vitamin B12 in the post-folic acid fortification era

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of plasma folate and vitamin B12 concentrations on cervical cancer risk in the U.S. after the folic acid fortification era. The study included 376 premenopausal women of childbearing age who tested positive for infections with high-risk (HR) human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and were diagnosed with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 2 or higher (CIN 2+, cases) or ≤CIN 1 (noncases). CIN 2+ (yes/no) was the dependent variable in logistic regression models that specified plasma folate concentrations combined with plasma B12 concentrations as the independent predictors of primary interest, adjusting for age, race, education, smoking, parity, number of lifetime male sexual partners, use of contraceptives, waist circumference, physical activity, healthy eating index, and circulating concentrations of vitamins A, C, tocopherol, and total carotene. Women with supraphysiologic concentrations of plasma folate (>19.8 ng/mL) who also had sufficient plasma vitamin B12 (≥200.6 pg/mL) had 70% lower odds of being diagnosed with CIN 2+ (P = 0.04) when compared with women with plasma folate of ≤19.8 ng/mL and plasma vitamin B12 of <200.6 pg/mL Our results do not corroborate the concern that supraphysiologic plasma folate concentrations seen in the post-U.S. folic acid fortification era increase the risk of CIN in premenopausal women of childbearing age. In fact, higher folate is associated with significantly lower risk of CIN, especially when vitamin B12 is sufficient, demonstrating the importance of vitamin B12 in the high-folate environment created by the folic acid fortification program. ©2009 American Association for Cancer Research.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 15360879
  • Author List

  • Piyathilake CJ; Macaluso M; Alvarez RD; Bell WC; Heimburger DC; Partridge EE
  • Start Page

  • 658
  • End Page

  • 664
  • Volume

  • 2
  • Issue

  • 7