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1.  Antiproliferative and Apoptotic Effects of a Specific Antiprostate Stem Cell Single Chain Antibody on Human Prostate Cancer Cells 
Journal of Oncology  2013;2013:839831.
Prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) is a highly glycosylated cell surface protein which is overexpressed in several malignancies including prostate, pancreas, and urinary bladder cancers. Tumor suppression has been reported by anti-PSCA antibody. Small and high affinity single chain antibodies (scFv) have been introduced as effective agents for cancer immunotargeting approaches. In the present study, we used a phage antibody display library of scFv and selected two antibodies against two immunodominant epitopes of PSCA by panning process. The reactivity of the scFvs for the corresponding epitopes was determined by phage ELISA. The binding specificity of antibodies to PSCA-expressing prostate cancer cell line, DU-145, was analyzed by flow cytometry. The antiproliferative and apoptotic induction effects were evaluated by MTT and Annexin-V assays, respectively. Results represented functional scFv C5-II which could bind specifically to DU-145 cells and significantly inhibited the proliferation of these cells (61%) with no effect on PSCA-negative cells. The antibody also induced apoptosis in the PSCA expressing cells. The percentage of the apoptotic cells after 24 hrs of exposure to 500 scFv/cell was 33.80%. These results demonstrate that the functional anti-PSCA scFv C5-II has the potential to be considered as a new agent for targeted therapy of prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3872421  PMID: 24391668
2.  Vitamin D in cutaneous carcinogenesis: Part I 
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is a known risk factor for skin cancer but is also the principal means by which the body obtains vitamin D. Several studies have suggested that vitamin D plays a protective role in a variety of internal malignancies. With regard to skin cancer, epidemiologic and laboratory studies suggest that vitamin D and its metabolites may have a similar protective effect. These noncalcemic actions of vitamin D have called into question whether the current recommended intake of vitamin D is too low for optimal health and cancer prevention. Part I will review the role of vitamin D in the epidermis; part II will review the role of vitamin D in keratinocyte-derived tumors to help frame the discussion on the possible role of vitamin D in the prevention of skin cancer.
PMCID: PMC3688468  PMID: 23062903
25(OH)D levels; cholecalciferol; supplements; vitamin D; ultraviolet radiation
3.  Vitamin D in cutaneous carcinogenesis Part II 
The role of vitamin D in health maintenance and disease prevention in fields ranging from bone metabolism to cancer is currently under intensive investigation. A number of epidemiologic studies have suggested that vitamin D may have a protective effect on cancer risk and cancer-associated mortality. With regard to skin cancer, epidemiologic and laboratory studies suggest that vitamin D and its metabolites may have a similar risk reducing effect. Potential mechanisms of action include inhibition of the hedgehog signaling pathway and upregulation of nucleotide excision repair enzymes. The key factor complicating the association between vitamin D and skin cancer is ultraviolet B radiation. The same spectrum of ultraviolet B radiation that catalyzes the production of vitamin D in the skin also causes DNA damage that can lead to epidermal malignancies. Part II of this continuing medical education article will summarize the literature on vitamin D and skin cancer to identify evidence-based optimal serum levels of vitamin D and to recommend ways of achieving those levels while minimizing the risk of skin cancer.
PMCID: PMC3706259  PMID: 23062904
25(OH)D levels; basal cell carcinoma; melanoma; nonmelanoma skin cancer; vitamin D; vitamin D receptor; squamous cell carcinoma; sunlight
4.  Vitamin D, arterial hypertension & cerebrovascular disease 
Vitamin D is mainly derived from endogenous ultraviolet-B induced vitamin D synthesis in the skin, and the current high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency can, therefore, largely be attributed to lifestyle related low sunlight exposure. Regulation of bone and mineral metabolism is a classic vitamin D effect, but the identification of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in almost all human cells suggests a role for vitamin D also in extra-skeletal diseases. Experimental studies demonstrated several antihypertensive and vascular protective effects of vitamin D, such as suppression of the renin angiotensin aldosterone system, beneficial modulation of classic cardiovascular risk factors, and anti-atherosclerotic properties including improvements of endothelial function. Additional neuroprotective actions of vitamin D have also been reported. In line with this, epidemiological studies have largely shown that vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for arterial hypertension and strokes. Data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are, however, limited and less promising, with currently no confirmation that vitamin D reduces stroke incidence. Whereas some RCTs suggest that vitamin D supplementation might modestly reduce blood pressure, this has not been consistently observed in all studies. It is, therefore, premature to recommend vitamin D supplementation for the prevention and treatment of arterial hypertension and stroke. Nevertheless, the fact that patients with arterial hypertension and cerebrovascular disease are at a relatively high risk of vitamin D deficiency, and therewith associated musculoskeletal diseases can serve as a rationale for the evaluation, prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3724247  PMID: 23703334
Arterial hypertension; blood pressure; cerebrovascular; epidemiology; stroke; vitamin D
5.  A Prospective Study of Plasma Vitamin D Metabolites, Vitamin D Receptor Polymorphisms, and Prostate Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(3):e103.
Vitamin D insufficiency is a common public health problem nationwide. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25[OH]D), the most commonly used index of vitamin D status, is converted to the active hormone 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25[OH]2D), which, operating through the vitamin D receptor (VDR), inhibits in vitro cell proliferation, induces differentiation and apoptosis, and may protect against prostate cancer. Despite intriguing results from laboratory studies, previous epidemiological studies showed inconsistent associations of circulating levels of 25(OH)D, 1,25(OH)2D, and several VDR polymorphisms with prostate cancer risk. Few studies have explored the joint association of circulating vitamin D levels with VDR polymorphisms.
Methods and Findings
During 18 y of follow-up of 14,916 men initially free of diagnosed cancer, we identified 1,066 men with incident prostate cancer (including 496 with aggressive disease, defined as stage C or D, Gleason 7–10, metastatic, and fatal prostate cancer) and 1,618 cancer-free, age- and smoking-matched control participants in the Physicians' Health Study. We examined the associations of prediagnostic plasma levels of 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D, individually and jointly, with total and aggressive disease, and explored whether relations between vitamin D metabolites and prostate cancer were modified by the functional VDR FokI polymorphism, using conditional logistic regression. Among these US physicians, the median plasma 25(OH)D levels were 25 ng/ml in the blood samples collected during the winter or spring and 32 ng/ml in samples collected during the summer or fall. Nearly 13% (summer/fall) to 36% (winter/spring) of the control participants were deficient in 25(OH)D (<20 ng/ml) and 51% (summer/fall) and 77% (winter/spring) had insufficient plasma 25(OH)D levels (<32 ng/ml). Plasma levels of 1,25(OH)2D did not vary by season. Men whose levels for both 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D were below (versus above) the median had a significantly increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer (odds ratio [OR] = 2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–3.4), although the interaction between the two vitamin D metabolites was not statistically significant (pinteraction = 0.23). We observed a significant interaction between circulating 25(OH)D levels and the VDR FokI genotype (pinteraction < 0.05). Compared with those with plasma 25(OH)D levels above the median and with the FokI FF or Ff genotype, men who had low 25(OH)D levels and the less functional FokI ff genotype had increased risks of total (OR = 1.9, 95% CI 1.1–3.3) and aggressive prostate cancer (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.1–5.8). Among men with plasma 25(OH)D levels above the median, the ff genotype was no longer associated with risk. Conversely, among men with the ff genotype, high plasma 25(OH)D level (above versus below the median) was related to significant 60%∼70% lower risks of total and aggressive prostate cancer.
Our data suggest that a large proportion of the US men had suboptimal vitamin D status (especially during the winter/spring season), and both 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D may play an important role in preventing prostate cancer progression. Moreover, vitamin D status, measured by 25(OH)D in plasma, interacts with the VDR FokI polymorphism and modifies prostate cancer risk. Men with the less functional FokI ff genotype (14% in the European-descent population of this cohort) are more susceptible to this cancer in the presence of low 25(OH)D status.
Results of this study by Haojie Li and colleagues suggest that vitamin D deficiency is common among men in the US, and that vitamin D status and genetic variation in theVDR gene affect prostate cancer risk.
Editors' Summary
Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland (part of the male reproductive system) accumulate genetic changes that allow them to grow into a disorganized mass of cells. Patients whose disease is diagnosed when these cells are still relatively normal can survive for many years, but for patients with aggressive cancers—ones containing fast-growing cells that can migrate around the body—the outlook is poor. Factors that increase prostate cancer risk include increasing age, having a family history of prostate cancer, and being African American. Also, there are hints that some environmental or dietary factors affect prostate cancer risk. One of these factors is vitamin D, of which high levels are found in seafood and dairy products, but which can also be made naturally by the body—more specifically, by sunlight-exposed skin. One reason researchers think vitamin D might protect against prostate cancer is that this cancer is more common in sun-starved northern countries (where people often have a vitamin D deficiency) than in sunny regions. Prostate cancer is also more common in African American men than in those of European descent (when exposed to the same amount of sunlight, individuals with darker skin make less vitamin D than those with lighter skin). Once in the human body, vitamin D is converted into the vitamin D metabolite 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25[OH]D) and then into the active hormone 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25[OH]2D). This binds to vitamin D receptors (VDRs) and inhibits cell proliferation and migration.
Why Was This Study Done?
The effect of 1,25(OH)2D on cells and the observation that related chemicals slow prostate cancer growth in rodents suggest that vitamin D protects against prostate cancer. But circulating levels of vitamin D metabolites in human male populations do not always reflect how many men develop prostate cancer. This lack of correlation may partly be because different forms of the VDR gene exist. One area of variation in the VDR gene is called the FokI polymorphism. Because everyone carries two copies of the VDR gene, individuals may have a FokI FF, FokI Ff, or FokI ff genotype. The f variant (or allele) codes for a receptor that is less responsive to 1,25(OH)2D than the receptor encoded by the FokI F allele. So levels of vitamin D sufficient to prevent cancer in one person may be insufficient in someone with a different FokI genotype. In this study, the researchers have investigated how levels of 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D in combination with different VDR FokI alleles are influencing prostate cancer risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 1,066 men who developed prostate cancer between enrollment into the US Physicians' Health Study in 1982 and 2000, and 1,618 cancer-free men of the same ages and smoking levels as “controls.” They measured vitamin D metabolite levels in many of the blood samples taken from these men in 1982 and determined their FokI genotype. Two-thirds of the men had insufficient blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the winter/spring; almost one-third had a vitamin D deficiency. Men whose blood levels of both metabolites were below average were twice as likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer as those in whom both levels were above average. Compared with men with high blood levels of 25(OH)D and the FokI FF or Ff genotype, men with low 25(OH)D levels and the FokI ff genotype were 2.5 times as likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. However, men with the ff genotype were not at higher risk if they had sufficient 25(OH)D levels. Among men with the ff genotype, sufficient 25(OH)D levels might therefore protect against prostate cancer, especially against the clinically aggressive form.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings confirm that many US men have suboptimal levels of circulating vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for healthy bones, so irrespective of its effects on prostate cancer, vitamin D supplements might improve overall health. In addition, this large and lengthy study reveals an association between low levels of the two vitamin D metabolites and aggressive prostate cancer that is consistent with vitamin D helping to prevent the progression of prostate cancer. It also indicates that the VDR FokI genotype modifies the prostate cancer risk associated with different blood levels of vitamin D. Together, these results suggest that improving vitamin D status through increased exposure to sun and vitamin D supplements might reduce prostate cancer risk, particularly in men with the FokI ff genotype. Because the study participants were mainly of European descent, the researchers caution that these results may not apply to other ethnic groups and note that further detailed studies are needed to understand fully how vitamin D affects prostate cancer risk across the population.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on prostate cancer and on vitamin D
Information for patients and physicians is available from the US National Cancer Institute on prostate cancer and on cancer prevention
The Prostate Cancer Foundation's information on prostate cancer discusses the effects of nutrition on the disease
Patient information on prostate cancer is available from Cancer Research UK
Cancerbackup also has patient information on prostate cancer
PMCID: PMC1831738  PMID: 17388667
6.  Vitamin D Metabolism and Action in the Prostate: Implications for Health and Disease 
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Epidemiological, molecular, and cellular studies have implicated vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for the development and/or progression of PCa. Studies using cell culture systems and animal models suggest that vitamin D acts to reduce the growth of PCa through regulation of cellular proliferation and differentiation. However, although pre-clinical studies provide a strong indication for anti-cancer activity, proof of therapeutic benefits in men is still lacking. The anti-proliferative and pro-differentiating properties of vitamin D have been attributed to calcitriol [1,25(OH)2D3], the hormonally active form of vitamin D, acting through the vitamin D receptor (VDR). Metabolism of vitamin D in target tissues is mediated by two key enzymes: 1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1), which catalyzes the synthesis of calcitriol from 25(OH)D and 24-hydroxylase (CYP24), which catalyzes the initial step in the conversion of calcitriol to less active metabolites. Many factors affect the balance of calcitriol synthesis and catabolism and several maneuvers, like combination therapy of calcitriol with other drugs, have been explored to treat PCa and reduce its risk. The current paper is an overview addressing some of the key factors that influence the biological actions of vitamin D and its metabolites in the treatment and/or prevention of PCa.
PMCID: PMC3189327  PMID: 21664249
Prostate cancer; vitamin D; calcitriol; vitamin D receptor (VDR); 1α-hydroxylase; 24-hydroxylase; combination therapy
7.  Dietary Antioxidants and Prostate Cancer: A Review 
Nutrition and cancer  2013;65(6):10.1080/01635581.2013.806672.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-cutaneous cancer in men in the United States. Several studies have examined the relationship between prostate cancer and antioxidants; however, the results of these studies are inconsistent. This article provides a systematic review of studies on prostate cancer and antioxidant intake from diet and supplements. Tea and coffee appear to offer protection against advanced prostate cancer. Different forms of vitamin E appear to exert different effects on prostate cancer, with alpha-tocopherol potentially increasing and gamma-tocopherol potentially decreasing risk of the disease. There is no strong evidence for a beneficial effect of selenium, vitamin C, or beta-carotene, while lycopene appears to be negatively associated with risk of the disease. The effect of dietary antioxidants on prostate cancer remains undefined and inconclusive, with different antioxidants affecting prostate cancer risk differentially. Further studies are needed to clarify the relationship between antioxidants and prostate cancer risk and to delineate the underlying mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3823537  PMID: 23909722
8.  Fundamental questions to sun protection 
Dermato-endocrinology  2010;2(1):19-25.
Since exposure to sunlight is a main factor in the development of non-melanoma skin cancer and there are associations between malignant melanoma and short-term intense ultraviolet (UV) exposure, particularly burning in childhood, strict protection from UV-radiation is recommended. However, up to 90% of all requisite vitamin D has to be formed within the skin through the action of the sun—a serious problem, for a connection between vitamin D deficiency, demonstrated in epidemiological studies, and various types of cancer and other diseases has been confirmed. A UVB-triggered skin autonomous vitamin D3 synthesis pathway has recently been described, producing the active Vitamin D metabolite calcitriol. This cutaneous vitamin D3 pathway is unique. Keratinocytes and dendritic cells can convert vitamin D to calcitriol. Cutaneous T cells activated in the presence of calcitriol express the chemokine receptor CCR10 attracting them to the chemokine CCL27 that keratinocytes express selectively in the epidermis, and migrate from dermal layers of the skin to the epidermis under UV radiation. Thus, calcitriol has endocrine roles beyond its calciotropic action, including cell growth and cancer prevention. Therefore, strict sun protection procedures to prevent skin cancer may induce the risk of vitamin D deficiency. As there is evidence that the protective effect of less intense solar radiation can outweigh its mutagenic effect, better balanced approaches to sun protection should be sought.
PMCID: PMC3084961  PMID: 21547144
vitamin D; vitamin D synthesis (skin); immune system (skin); sun protection; ultraviolet radiation; photo therapy; cancer
9.  Vitamin D Pathway Gene Variants and Prostate Cancer Prognosis 
The Prostate  2010;70(13):1448-1460.
Observational studies linking vitamin D deficiency with increased prostate cancer mortality and the pleiotropic anticancer effects of vitamin D in malignant prostate cell lines have initiated trials examining potential therapeutic benefits of vitamin D metabolites. There have been some successes but efforts have been hindered by risk of inducing hypercalcemia. A limited number of studies have investigated associations between variants in vitamin D pathway genes with aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Increased understanding of relevant germline genetic variation with disease outcome could aid in development of vitamin D-based therapies.
We undertook a comprehensive analysis of 48 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tagSNPs) in genes encoding for vitamin D receptor (VDR), vitamin D activating enzyme 1-α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1), and deactivating enzyme 24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1) in a cohort of 1,294 Caucasian cases with an average of 8 years of follow-up. Disease recurrence/ progression and prostate cancer-specific mortality risks were estimated using adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression.
There were 139 cases with recurrence/progression events and 57 cases who died of prostate cancer. Significantly altered risks of recurrence/progression were observed in relation to genotype for two VDR tagSNPs (rs6823 and rs2071358) and two CYP24A1 tagSNPs (rs927650 and rs2762939). Three VDR tagSNPs (rs3782905, rs7299460 and rs11168314), one CYP27B1 tagSNP (rs3782130) and five CYP24A1 tagSNPs (rs3787557, rs4809960, rs2296241, rs2585428, and rs6022999) significantly altered risks of prostate cancer death.
Genetic variations in vitamin D pathway genes were found to alter both risk of recurrence/progression and prostate cancer-specific mortality.
PMCID: PMC2927712  PMID: 20687218
Vitamin D Receptor; 1-alpha-Hydroxylase; 24-Hydroxylase; Prostatic Neoplasms; Outcomes
10.  Supplementation by vitamin D compounds does not affect colonic tumor development in vitamin D sufficient murine models 
Epidemiological studies indicate that sunlight exposure and vitamin D are each associated with a lower risk of colon cancer. The few controlled supplementation trials testing vitamin D in humans reported to date show conflicting results. We have used two genetic models of familial colon cancer, the ApcPirc/+ (Pirc) rat and the ApcMin/+ (Min) mouse, to investigate the effect of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [25(OH)D3] and two analogs of vitamin D hormone on colonic tumors. Longitudinal endoscopic monitoring allowed us to test the efficacy of these compounds in preventing newly arising colonic tumors and in affecting established colonic tumors. 25(OH)D3 and two analogs of vitamin D hormone each failed to reduce tumor multiplicities or alter the growth patterns of colonic tumors in the Pirc rat or the Min mouse.
PMCID: PMC3295581  PMID: 21907701
Chemoprevention; endoscopy; animal models
11.  Why vitamin D for cancer patients? 
ecancermedicalscience  2009;3:160.
Several epidemiological, pre-clinical and clinical studies support Vitamin D as a preventive and therapeutic cancer agent.
Vitamin D and cancer: calcitriol, the biologically active form of vitamin D (1,25(OH)D), exerts its effects mainly through binding to nuclear vitamin D receptor (VDR). Calcitriol has been shown to be an anti-proliferative, pro-differentiation, pro-apoptotic agent and an inhibitor of cell migration. Animal and human in vitro studies strongly indicate that vitamin D may have benefits for many forms of cancer. Inadequate levels of circulating 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25(OH)D) are associated with an increased risk and poor prognosis of several types of cancer.
Vitamin D and melanoma: cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) represents a major public health issue: rates in Italy have almost doubled in the last decade and CMM is frequent among young adults. For resected stage II melanoma no standard adjuvant treatment exists and five-year overall survival is about 70%.
Cultured melanoma cells can synthesize calcitriol from 25(OH)D and express the VDR. Moreover, 1,25(OH)D has anti-proliferative and pro-differentiation effects in human melanoma cells. 1,25(OH)D has been shown to induce apoptosis in human melanoma cell lines and has an inhibitory effect on the spreading of melanoma cells in vitro.
Preliminary results on vitamin D: epidemiological data indicate that vitamin D deficiency is relatively common in Europe. In an Italian study, we found that 85% of the participants had insufficient levels of 25(OH)D. We have shown through a meta-analysis of randomized trials that vitamin D supplementation is associated with a significant reduction (7%) in total mortality in healthy subjects and an association between VDR and 25(OH)D and CMM progression has also been demonstrated. We have also reported significant associations between VDR polymorphisms and incidence of skin cancer. In early supplementation trials, the lack of effect on cancer incidence has been attributed to insufficient vitamin D supplementation, stressing the need to better study vitamin D bioavailability.
In fact, a recent IARC report highlighted the need for new randomized trials, based on results from our meta-analyses on 25(OH)D serum levels and cancer risk.
Clinical trial and biomarkers studies: in order to assess whether vitamin D supplementation could improve prognosis of CMM, an Italian multi-centre trial in stage II resected melanoma patients was planned to monitor changes in 25(OH)D. The study will address two important questions regarding the relationship between the biology of VDR and (1) vitamin D metabolism, and (2) CMM prognosis. This will involve investigating the association between VDR polymorphisms and Breslow thickness, the most important prognostic factor of CMM, and between 25(OH)D serum level, vitamin D supplementation and VDR.
We will also evaluate at baseline whether VDR polymorphisms are associated with Breslow thickness and whether we obtain significant increase in 25(OH)D serum levels during the first year of supplementation. We will quantify the percentages of patients who have desirable levels of 25(OH)D and, if they don’t, the mean time to reach that level. The findings from this study will be of great interest because vitamin D could have anti-cancer benefits for a wide spectrum of cancers.
PMCID: PMC3224009  PMID: 22276021
12.  Maternal Vitamin D Status: Effect on Milk Vitamin D Content and Vitamin D Status of Breastfeeding Infants123 
Advances in Nutrition  2012;3(3):353-361.
There are increasing reports of rickets and vitamin D deficiency worldwide. Breastfeeding without adequate sunlight exposure and vitamin D supplementation are the major risk factors. In view of the drive to promote and increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding, the relationship among maternal vitamin D status, vitamin D concentration of human milk, and hence vitamin D status of breastfeeding infants deserves reassessment. This review provides current information on the interrelationship between maternal vitamin D status and the vitamin D status of the breastfeeding infant. It also reviews the results of ongoing research on the effect of high-dose maternal vitamin D supplementation alone as a possible option to prevent vitamin D deficiency in the breastfeeding mother-infant dyad.
PMCID: PMC3649470  PMID: 22585912
13.  Using genetic proxies for lifecourse sun exposure to assess the causal relationship of sun exposure with circulating vitamin D and prostate cancer risk 
Ecological and epidemiological studies have identified an inverse association of intensity and duration of sunlight exposure with prostate cancer, which may be explained by a reduction in vitamin D synthesis. Pigmentation traits influence sun exposure and therefore may affect prostate cancer risk. Because observational studies are vulnerable to confounding and measurement error, we used Mendelian randomization to examine the relationship of sun exposure with both prostate cancer risk and the intermediate phenotype, plasma levels of vitamin D.
We created a tanning, a skin color and a freckling score as combinations of SNPs that have been previously associated with these phenotypes. A higher score indicates propensity to burn, have a lighter skin color and freckles. The scores were tested for association with vitamin D levels (25-hydroxyvitamin-D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D) and PSA-detected prostate cancer in 3123 white British individuals enrolled in the Prostate Testing for cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) study.
The freckling score was inversely associated with 25(OH)D levels (change in 25(OH)D per score unit −0.27; 95%CI: −0.52, −0.01), and the tanning score was positively associated with prostate cancer risk (OR 1.05; 95%CI: 1.02,1.09), after adjustment for population stratification and potential confounders.
Individuals who tend to burn are more likely to spend less time in the sun and consequently have lower plasma vitamin D levels and higher susceptibility to prostate cancer.
The use of pigmentation related genetic scores is valuable for the assessment of the potential benefits of sun exposure with respect to prostate cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3616836  PMID: 23441100
pigmentation; tanning; sun exposure; vitamin D; prostate cancer
14.  Vitamin D and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk in Adults: A Review 
Cancer investigation  2009;27(9):942-951.
Animal and human studies support a protective effect of Vitamin D sufficiency related to malignancy by uncovering paracrine and autocrine effects of extra-renal 25(OH)D activation including: regulation of cell cycle proliferation, apoptosis induction, and increased cell differentiation signaling. Recent epidemiologic studies demonstrate a reduction in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) risk with increased sunlight exposure. As sunlight is a major vitamin D source, it has been suggested that vitamin D status may mediate this observed association. This review provides a comprehensive discussion of the current epidemiologic evidence with regard to the investigation of an association between vitamin D status and NHL risk.
PMCID: PMC2893413  PMID: 19832043
Lymphoma; Vitamin D; Epidemiology; ultraviolet radiation; etiology
15.  Serum 25-OH vitamin D levels and risk of developing prostate cancer in older men 
Cancer Causes & Control   2010;21(8):1297-1303.
Multiple studies have shown clear evidence of vitamin D’s anti-tumor effects on prostate cancer cells in laboratory experiments, but the evidence has not been consistent in humans. We sought to examine the association between vitamin D and prostate cancer risk in a cohort of older men.
We conducted a prospective case-cohort study nested within the multicenter Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study. Baseline serum 25-OH vitamin D was measured in a randomly selected sub-cohort of 1,433 men ≥65 years old without a history of prostate cancer and from all participants with an incident diagnosis of prostate cancer (n = 297). Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the associations between quartiles of total 25-OH vitamin D and incident prostate cancer, as well as Gleason score.
In comparison with the lowest quartile of 25-OH vitamin D, the hazard ratio for the highest quartile of 25-OH vitamin D was 1.22 (CI 0.50–1.72, p = 0.25), no trend across quartiles (p = 0.94) or association with Gleason score was observed. Adjustment for covariates did not alter the results.
In this prospective cohort of older men, we found no association between serum 25-OH vitamin D levels and subsequent risk of prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC2903686  PMID: 20383574
Vitamin D; Prostate cancer
16.  Protective actions of vitamin D in UVB induced skin cancer† 
Non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) are the most common type of cancer, occurring at a rate of over 1 million per year in the United States. Although their metastatic potential is generally low, they can and do metastasize, especially in the immune compromised host, and their surgical treatment is often quite disfiguring. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) as occurs with sunlight exposure is generally regarded as causal for these malignancies, but UVR is also required for vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Based on our own data and that reported in the literature, we hypothesize that the vitamin D produced in the skin serves to suppress UVR epidermal tumor formation. In this review we will first discuss the evidence supporting the conclusion that the vitamin D receptor (VDR), with or without its ligand 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, limits the propensity for cancer formation following UVR. We will then explore three potential mechanisms for this protection: inhibition of proliferation and stimulation of differentiation, immune regulation, and stimulation of DNA damage repair (DDR).
PMCID: PMC3501582  PMID: 22990497
17.  Predictors of Serum Vitamin D Levels in African American and European American Men in Chicago 
American journal of men's health  2012;6(5):420-426.
Vitamin D deficiency is epidemiologically linked to prostate, breast, and colon cancer. When compared with European American (EA) men, African American (AA) men have increased risk of prostate cancer, but few studies evaluate vitamin D status in AA men. The authors evaluate the biological and environmental predictors of vitamin D deficiency in AA and EA men in Chicago, Illinois, a low ultraviolet radiation environment. Blood samples were collected from 492 men, aged between 40 and 79 years, from urology clinics at three hospitals in Chicago, along with demographic and medical information, body mass index, and skin melanin content using a portable narrow-band reflectometer. Vitamin D intake and ultraviolet radiation exposure were assessed using validated questionnaires. The results demonstrated that Black race, cold season of blood draw, elevated body mass index, and lack of vitamin D supplementation increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency. Supplementation is a high-impact, modifiable risk factor. Race and sunlight exposure should be taken into account for recommended daily allowances for vitamin D intake.
PMCID: PMC3678722  PMID: 22398989
health inequality/disparity; health care issues; health promotion and disease prevention; nutrition; preventive medicine; public health
18.  Life course sun exposure and risk of prostate cancer: population-based nested case-control study (ProtecT) and meta-analysis 
There is currently no means of primary prevention for prostate cancer. Increased exposure to ultraviolet-radiation may be protective, but the literature is inconclusive. We investigated associations of life-course exposure to sunlight with prostate cancer. The study design was a UK-wide nested case-control study, based on 1,020 PSA-detected cases and 5,044 matched population controls and a systematic review with meta-analysis. Men with olive/brown skin (OR= 1.47; 95% CI: 1.00 to 2.17), men who burnt rarely/never (OR= 1.11; 0.95 to 1.29) and men with the lowest levels of intense sun exposure in the 2 years prior to diagnosis (OR = 1.24; 1.03 to 1.50) had an increased prostate cancer risk. However, amongst men with prostate cancer, spending less time outside was associated with a reduced risk of advanced cancer (OR = 0.49; 0.27 to 0.89) and high Gleason grade (OR = 0.62; 0.43 to 0.91), and men who burnt rarely/never had a reduced risk of advanced cancer (OR = 0.71; 0.47 to 1.08). The meta-analysis provided weak evidence that men with the lowest (versus highest) sunlight exposure had an increased prostate cancer risk (4 studies, random-effects pooled relative risk = 1.13; 0.98 to 1.29) and higher advanced or fatal prostate cancer risk (6 studies, random-effects pooled relative risk = 1.14; 0.98 to 1.33). Our data and meta-analyses provide limited support for the hypothesis that increased exposure to sunlight may reduce prostate cancer risk. The findings warrant further investigation because of their implications for vitamin D chemoprevention trials.
PMCID: PMC2873563  PMID: 19444909
Prostate cancer; sun exposure; pigmentation
19.  Vitamin D and Cancer 
Vitamin D system is a complex pathway that includes precursors, active metabolites, enzymes, and receptors. This complex system actives several molecular pathways and mediates a multitude of functions. In addition to the classical role in calcium and bone homeostasis, vitamin D plays “non-calcemic” effects in host defense, inflammation, immunity, and cancer processes as recognized in vitro and in vivo studies. The aim of this review is to highlight the relationship between vitamin D and cancer, summarizing several mechanisms proposed to explain the potential protective effect of vitamin D against the development and progression of cancer. Vitamin D acts like a transcription factor that influences central mechanisms of tumorigenesis: growth, cell differentiation, and apoptosis. In addition to cellular and molecular studies, epidemiological surveys have shown that sunlight exposure and consequent increased circulating levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced reduced occurrence and a reduced mortality in different histological types of cancer. Another recent field of interest concerns polymorphisms of vitamin D receptor (VDR); in this context, preliminary data suggest that VDR polymorphisms more frequently associated with tumorigenesis are Fok1, Bsm1, Taq1, Apa1, EcoRV, Cdx2; although further studies are needed to clarify their role in the cancer. In this review, the relationship between vitamin D and cancer is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3355893  PMID: 22649423
Vitamin D; 25-hydroxy-vitamin D; cancer; inflammation; immunity
20.  Does the evidence for an inverse relationship between serum vitamin D status and breast cancer risk satisfy the Hill criteria? 
Dermato-endocrinology  2012;4(2):152-157.
A wide range of epidemiologic and laboratory studies combined provide compelling evidence of a protective role of vitamin D on risk of breast cancer. This review evaluates the scientific evidence for such a role in the context of the A.B. Hill criteria for causality, in order to assess the presence of a causal, inverse relationship, between vitamin D status and breast cancer risk. After evaluation of this evidence in the context of Hill’s criteria, it was found that the criteria for a causal relationship were largely satisfied. Studies in human populations and the laboratory have consistently demonstrated that vitamin D plays an important role in the prevention of breast cancer. Vitamin D supplementation is an urgently needed, low cost, effective, and safe intervention strategy for breast cancer prevention that should be implemented without delay. In the meantime, randomized controlled trials of high doses of vitamin D3 for prevention of breast cancer should be undertaken to provide the necessary evidence to guide national health policy.
PMCID: PMC3427194  PMID: 22928071
vitamin D; breast neoplasms; Hill criteria; epidemiology
21.  Selenium and Vitamin E for Prostate Cancer: Post-SELECT (Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial) Status 
Molecular Medicine  2010;17(1-2):134-143.
Various formulations of selenium and vitamin E, both essential human dietary components, have been shown to possess a therapeutic and preventive effect against prostate cancer. Fortuitous results of clinical trials also implied a risk-reduction effect of selenium and vitamin E supplements. The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), using oral selenium and vitamin E supplementation in disease-free volunteers, was designed to test a prostate cancer chemoprevention hypothesis. SELECT was terminated early because of both safety concerns and negative data for the formulations and doses given. Here, we review and discuss the studies done before and since the inception of SELECT, as well as the parameters of the trial itself. We believe that there is a lack of appropriate in vivo preclinical studies on selenium and vitamin E despite many promising in vitro studies on these agents. It seems that the most effective doses and formulations of these agents for prostate cancer chemoprevention have yet to be tested. Also, improved understanding of selenium and vitamin E biology may facilitate the discovery of these doses and formulations.
PMCID: PMC3022975  PMID: 20882260
22.  Vitamin D Decreases Risk of Breast Cancer in Premenopausal Women of Normal Weight in Subtropical Taiwan 
Journal of Epidemiology  2011;21(2):87-94.
Evidence for an association between vitamin D status and breast cancer is now more convincing, but is uncertain in subtropical areas like Taiwan. This hospital-based case-control study examined the relationship of breast cancer with vitamin D intake and sunlight exposure.
A total of 200 incident breast cancer cases in a Taipei hospital were matched with 200 controls by date of interview and menopausal status. Information on risk factors for breast cancer was collected in face-to-face interviews and assessed with reference to vitamin D intake (foods and nutrients) and sunlight exposure. Vitamin D intake was divided into quartiles, and threshold effect was evaluated by comparing Q2–Q4 with Q1.
After controlling for age, education, parity, hormone replacement therapy, body mass index (BMI), energy intake, menopausal status, and daily sunlight exposure, the risk of breast cancer in participants with a dietary vitamin D intake greater than 5 µg per day was significantly lower (odds ratio [OR], 0.48; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.24–0.97) than that of participants with an intake less than 2 µg per day. In analysis stratified by menopausal status and BMI, both dietary vitamin D and total vitamin D intakes were associated with a protective effect among premenopausal women. There was a significant linear trend for breast cancer risk and dietary vitamin D intake in premenopausal women (P = 0.02). In participants with a BMI lower than 24 kg/m2 (ie, normal weight), dietary vitamin D intake was inversely related to breast cancer risk (P for trend = 0.002), and a threshold effect was apparent (Q2–Q4 vs Q1: OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.23–0.90).
Vitamin D had a protective effect against breast cancer in premenopausal women of normal weight in subtropical Taiwan, especially an intake greater than 5 µg per day.
PMCID: PMC3899499  PMID: 21160130
vitamin D; menopause; BMI; sunlight exposure; subtropical
23.  Prevalence and Correlates of Vitamin and Supplement Usage among Men with a Family History of Prostate Cancer 
Integrative Cancer Therapies  2011;11(2):83-89.
Men who have a brother with prostate cancer have a two-fold increased risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Strategies employed by these men to reduce prostate cancer risk are not well understood. Preliminary studies have shown that men with a family history of prostate cancer have a high rate of vitamin and supplement usage aimed at the prevention of prostate cancer.
Study Design
We analyzed data from a cross-sectional study of men with familial and hereditary prostate cancer and their unaffected brothers. We interviewed 542 unaffected men who had at least one brother who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer regarding their use of vitamins and supplements, as well as the motivation for use.
The associations between subject characteristics and vitamin and supplement use were evaluated using an unconditional logistic regression modeling approach.
Overall, 59.2 and 36.5 percent of men reported ever using and currently using, respectively, one or more vitamins or supplements (including multivitamins). One-third of men took a vitamin or supplement that has been targeted for prostate health or cancer prevention, including green tea, magnesium, male hormones, saw palmetto, selenium, soy, vitamins A, C, E and zinc. Increasing age at time of survey was associated with vitamin/supplement use (OR=1.03; 95% CI=1.01–1.0). After adjusting for age at time of survey, being younger than an affected brother was associated with vitamin and supplement use (OR=1.51; 95% CI=1.01–2.25). 25% of men reported obtaining information from books or articles as the most common source of information.
Our findings indicate that men at an increased risk for prostate cancer report a high rate of vitamin and supplement use, including supplements targeted for prostate cancer prevention. Men with a family history of prostate cancer represent a target population for future chemopreventative agents.
PMCID: PMC3213317  PMID: 21821653
Prostate Cancer Chemoprevention; Family History; Complementary and Alternative Medicine
24.  No association of vitamin D metabolism-related polymorphisms and melanoma risk as well as melanoma prognosis: a case–control study 
Archives of Dermatological Research  2012;304(5):353-361.
Melanoma is one of the most aggressive human cancers. The vitamin D system contributes to the pathogenesis and prognosis of malignancies including cutaneous melanoma. An expression of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and an anti-proliferative effect of vitamin D in melanocytes and melanoma cells have been shown in vitro. Studies examining associations of polymorphisms in genes coding for vitamin D metabolism-related proteins (1α-hydroxylase [CYP27B1], 1,25(OH)2D-24hydroxylase [CYP24A1], vitamin D-binding protein [VDBP]) and cancer risk are scarce, especially with respect to melanoma. Mainly VDR polymorphisms regarding melanoma risk and prognosis were examined although other vitamin D metabolism-related genes may also be crucial. In our hospital-based case–control study including 305 melanoma patients and 370 healthy controls single nucleotide polymorphisms in the genes CYP27B1 (rs4646536), CYP24A1 (rs927650), VDBP (rs1155563, rs7041), and VDR (rs757343, rs731236, rs2107301, rs7975232) were analyzed for their association with melanoma risk and prognosis. Except VDR rs731236 and VDR rs2107301, the other six polymorphisms have not been analyzed regarding melanoma before. To further improve the prevention as well as the treatment of melanoma, it is important to identify further genetic markers for melanoma risk as well as prognosis in addition to the crude phenotypic, demographic, and environmental markers used in the clinic today. A panel of genetic risk markers could help to better identify individuals at risk for melanoma development or worse prognosis. We, however, found that none of the polymorphisms tested was associated with melanoma risk as well as prognosis in logistic and linear regression models in our study population.
PMCID: PMC3382284  PMID: 22576141
Melanoma; Vitamin D; Vitamin D receptor (VDR); 25-hydroxyvitamin D-1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1); 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1); Vitamin D binding protein (VDBP); Gene polymorphism
25.  Calcium Intake and Prostate Cancer Among African Americans: Effect Modification by Vitamin D Receptor Calcium Absorption Genotype 
High dietary intake of calcium has been classified as a probable cause of prostate cancer although the mechanism underlying the association between dietary calcium and prostate cancer risk is unclear. The vitamin D receptor (VDR) is a key regulator of calcium absorption. In the small intestine, VDR expression is regulated by the CDX-2 transcription factor, which binds a polymorphic site in the VDR gene promoter. We examined VDR Cdx2 genotype and calcium intake, assessed by a food frequency questionnaire, in 533 African American prostate cancer cases (256 with advanced stage at diagnosis, 277 with localized stage) and 250 African American controls who participated in the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study. We examined the effects of genotype, calcium intake, and diet-gene interactions by conditional logistic regression. Compared to men in the lowest quartile of calcium intake, men in the highest quartile had an approximately two-fold increased risk of localized and advanced prostate cancer (odds ratio [OR]= 2.20, 95% confidence interval [CI]= 1.40, 3.46), with a significant dose-response. Poor absorbers of calcium (VDR Cdx2 GG genotype) had a significantly lower risk of advanced prostate cancer (OR= 0.41, 95% CI = 0.19, 0.90). The gene-calcium interaction was statistically significant (p=0.03). Among men with calcium intake below the median (680 mg/day), carriers of the G allele had an approximately 50% decreased risk compared to men with the AA genotype. These findings suggest a link between prostate cancer risk and high intestinal absorption of calcium.
PMCID: PMC3234334  PMID: 21887707
Vitamin D receptor; calcium absorption; genetic polymorphism; prostate cancer; African American

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