Multivitamins and Cancer Prevention: Using the Data.

Best Evidence Review of Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer

The Study

Gaziano JM, Sesso HD, Christen WG, et al. Multivitamins in the prevention of cancer in men: the Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012;308:1871-1880.

The Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) II was the first large-scale, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to test the long-term effects of a daily multivitamin on the prevention of cancer. The results — an 8% decrease in total cancer incidence among men taking a daily multivitamin — have generated significant attention in the popular press. But is the evidence strong enough to recommend a change in clinical practice? How should physicians best use the results of this study?