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Vitamin D status and cancer: new insights

Schwartz, Gary Ga; Skinner, Halcyon Gb

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: January 2007 - Volume 10 - Issue 1 - p 6–11
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328011aa60
Ageing: biology and nutrition

Purpose of review The aim of this article is to describe recent developments in human studies of the role of vitamin D in the etiology and treatment of cancer.

Recent findings Epidemiologic studies over the past year lend additional support for important roles for vitamin D in the natural history of several cancers. Studies showing risk reduction by vitamin D in prostate, colon and breast cancers were joined by new analyses of endometrial, skin, and pancreatic cancers. Interest in vitamin D has extended to examinations of its influence on premalignant conditions such as adenomatous polyps and breast density. Studies of vitamin D and cancer survival have featured prominently in the recent literature. Sun exposure and indicators of high vitamin D status were found to be associated with improved survival for cutaneous melanoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and cancers of the lung, breast, prostate and colon. Therapeutic trials of vitamin D are especially prominent in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Summary Studies over the past year indicate potentially important roles for vitamin D in cancer prevention, survival and treatment.

aDepartments of Cancer Biology and Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

bDepartment of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Correspondence to Gary G. Schwartz, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Wake Forest University, Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA Tel: +1 336 716 7446; fax: +1 336 716 5687; e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.