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Deficiency in Vitamin D Increases the Risk of Cancer

Vitamin D deficiency is common and cancer risk is higher among those individuals with low vitamin D levels, according// to research.

Epidemiological and basic science research, as well as clinical trials on the value of vitamin D as a preventive and therapeutic cancer agent, suggest that vitamin D deficiency may predispose some to the occurrence of a number of types of cancer and increase the likelihood of numerous complications known to occur in cancer patients.

Substantial epidemiological data indicate a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of a number of cancers. While no large scale prospective trials have been conducted to test the hypothesis that aggressive vitamin D supplementation influences cancer risk, RPCI recently initiated a clinical trial of high-dose calcitriol (vitamin D) replacement in individuals with high risk of lung cancer in whom serial LIFE bronchoscopy and bronchial biopsies will be done.

Preclinical studies demonstrate the anti-proliferative and pro-differentiative effects of high-dose calcitriol treatment in in vitro and in vivo models. In the laboratory, there appears to be no tumor type that is uniquely sensitive to vitamin D treatment – leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and solid tumor models are all sensitive, which speaks to the value of vitamin D as a potential therapeutic agent in multiple types of cancer. Recent RPCI research explored the mechanisms of vitamin D in the tumor microenvironment.

Clinical trials of vitamin D have primarily focused on the use of calcitriol. While preclinical data and limited clinical data strongly suggest that calcitriol and other vitamin D analogues have a role in the suppression of established cancer, questions remain about optimal dose, schedule and formulation of calcitriol compound. Further investigation of vitamin D in both cancer prevention and therapy is clearly indicated.

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Can
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