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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Vitamin D Metabolites and Cancer

Recent experimental and epidemiologic studies of cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, and prostate, as well as non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), suggest that vitamin D metabolites may help prevent cancer or cancer mortality. DCEG investigators undertook the first study to examine the prospective relationship between the vitamin D status metabolite, 25-hydroxyvitamin D in serum and cancer mortality. The study was conducted in more than 15,000 persons aged 17 and older who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). It found total cancer mortality was unrelated to baseline vitamin D status in the entire population, including men, women, non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Mexican Americans in persons younger than 70 or 70 years or older. Investigators found no interaction between vitamin D and season or vitamin D and serum retinol. Colorectal cancer mortality was inversely related to serum 25(OH)D level. 

Another study is examining the relationship between two vitamin D metabolites (25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)D and breast cancer in the Prostate, Lung, Colon, and Ovarian (PLCO) screening study cohort.

Investigators are also examining the relationship between pre-diagnostic 25(OH)D and lymphoid cancer risk in a case-control study nested in the Alpha-Tocopherol Beta Carotene Prevention Study cohort of Finnish smokers.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Cahoon.

Radiation Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas