Vitamin C may impact the efficiency of radiation therapy (RT) in breast cancer. The effects of RT alone or in combination with vitamin C in SKBR3, MDA-MB-231, and MCF7 cells were compared using clonogenic assay, proliferation assay (MTT), cell cycle analysis, and Western blot. Vitamin C use was assessed in 1803 breast cancer patients 2002–2017 in relation to clinicopathological features and recurrences after RT. Vitamin C combined with RT resulted in non-significant increases in colony formation and minor differences in cell cycle arrest and expression of studied proteins, compared to RT alone. Lower vitamin C doses alone or in combination with RT, resulted in higher proliferation with MTT than higher vitamin C doses in a cell line-dependent manner. Vitamin C use was associated with lower histological grade and BMI but not recurrence risk in RT-treated patients (LogRank P = 0.54). Vitamin C impacted RT efficiency differently depending on breast cancer subtype and vitamin C concentration. Lower doses of vitamin C, achievable with oral administration, might increase breast cancer cell proliferation and decrease radiosensitivity. Despite vitamin C users having less aggressive tumors than non-users, the recurrence risk in RT-treated patients was similar in vitamin C users and non-users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-453
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology

Free keywords

  • clinical outcome
  • human breast cancer
  • in vitro
  • radiation therapy
  • vitamin C


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