Presence of Carotenoid, an Anticarcinogenic Marker, in Nipple Aspirates Postlactation

  • Chandice Covington
  • Anne Mitchell-Gieleghem
  • David Lawson
  • Isao Eto
  • Clinton Grubbs
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 501)


Case-controlled studies have identified a protective effect of lactation against breast cancer; however, little is known about the nature of this protective mechanism. The purpose of this study was to examine postweaned, nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) from women, ages 18 to 45, for carotenoid, a known antioxidant and anticarcinogenic marker, and compare carotenoid availability in NAF with that reported in colostrum. Women who had lactated at least 6 months and weaned for at least 6 months were recruited into the study. A prestudy and poststudy serum prolactin level was obtained. NAF was obtained through a nipple aspirator method. Total carotenoid ranged from 0.4 to 4.0 µg/mL, with a mean level of 1.9 ± 1.2 (SD). Women who had weaned earlier (<12mo) had significantly more carotenoids than those who had lactated longer (>12mo) (P = 0.04). These levels were similar to those known to occur in colostrum. This research elucidates possible mechanisms of the protective effect of lactation on the microenvironment of the breast.


Breast Cancer Total Carotenoid Nipple Aspirate Fluid Carotenoid Level Colostrum Sample 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chandice Covington
    • 1
  • Anne Mitchell-Gieleghem
    • 2
  • David Lawson
    • 3
  • Isao Eto
    • 4
  • Clinton Grubbs
    • 4
  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.College of NursingWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Department of PhysiologyWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  4. 4.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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