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Name of Collaboratory :


Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC)


URL :  

Collaboratory Status :

Completed   Start Date : 1985 End Date : 2010 Info Last Updated : Mon, Nov 1 2010 4:01am PDT

Primary Collaboratory Function :

  Distributed Research Center  

Secondary Collaboratory Functions :


Domain(s) :

  BIOLOGICAL/AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES >Biological Sciences >Pathology, Human and Animal  

Brief Description of the Collaboratory :


The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study was a cancer prevention trial conducted by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare of Finland from 1985 to 1993. The purpose of the study was to determine whether certain vitamin supplements would prevent lung cancer and other cancers in a group of 29,133 male smokers in Finland. The 50- to 69-year-old participants took a pill daily for five to eight years that contained one of the following: 50 milligrams (mg) alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), 20 mg of beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), both, or a placebo (inactive pill that looked like the vitamin).

The participants stopped taking the vitamin supplements in April 1993. However, in order to evaluate the long-term effects of the vitamins on cancer incidence, and overall and cause-specific mortality, they were followed after the trial ended using data from the national registries in Finland. The researchers acquired additional data for cancer incidence and mortality related to specific causes through December 2008 and for total mortality through December 2010 (seventeen years beyond the end of the trial).

Part of the Cohort Consortium. See

In collaboration with other extramural and intramural studies, the ATBC Study participates in several large consortium projects of nutritional and other environmental factors, candidate genes and pathways, and genome-wide association studies, contributing scientific expertise, data and cohort resources, and intramural support to these investigations.

NCI Cohort Consortium Projects:

Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3)

Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium (PanScan)

Vitamin D Pooling Project (VDPP)

Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS)

Other NCI Cohort Consortium Projects that include the ATBC Study involve the study of BMI and overall mortality; upper GI cancer and various genetic and environmental factors, including Helicobacter pylori seropositivity and alcohol use; NHL and glioblastoma and genetic variants; and multiple myeloma and cytokines and growth factors.

Other Pooling Projects:

Lung Cancer – Gene-Environment Interaction Project

Pooling Project of Diet and Cancer


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Notes on Participants/Organizations:
The two international partners of this project - the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare of Finland (THL) - have primary responsibility for project research management, coordination, and oversight. The Nutritional Epidemiology Branch (NEB) represents the NCI in this regard.

Approved studies must receive appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB) review at the collaborating institutions (e.g., the project is under continuing Special Studies IRB review within NIH). Study progress reports are required every six months, reevaluated, and analyses not completed within one year of the proposed date may be reassigned.


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