CARET is a multicenter, two-armed, double-masked randomized chemoprevention trial in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Baltimore, Connecticut, and Irvine, to test whether oral administration of β-carotene (30 mg/day) plus retinyl palmitate (25,000 IU/day) can decrease the incidence of lung cancer in high risk populations, namely, heavy smokers and asbestos-exposed workers. The intervention combines the antioxidant action of β-carotene and the tumor suppressor mechanism of vitamin A. As of April 30, 1993, CARET had randomized 1,845 participants in the 1985–1988 pilot phase plus 13,260 “efficacy” participants since 1989; of these, 4,000 are asbestos-exposed males and 11,105 are smokers and former smokers (44% female). Accrual is complete everywhere except Irvine, which was the last center added (1991), and the safety profile of the regimen to date has been excellent. With 14,420 smokers, 4,010 asbestos-exposed participants, and 114,100 person-years through February 1998, we expect CARET to be capable of detecting a 23% reduction in lung cancer incidence in the two populations combined and 27, 49, 32, and 35% reductions in the smokers, female smokers, male smokers, and asbestos-exposed subgroups, respectively. CARET is highly complementary to the α-tocopherol-β-carotene study in Finland and the Harvard Physicians Health Study (β-carotene alone) in the National Cancer Institute portfolio of major cancer chemoprevention trials.


Presented at the 4th International Conference on Anticarcinogenesis & Radiation Protection, April 18–23, 1993, Baltimore, MD. This project is supported by National Cancer Institute Grant CA 34847.

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