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Vitamin D and Pancreatic Cancer

Authors
Journal
Annals of Epidemiology
1047-2797
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
19
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.03.010
Keywords
  • Vitamin D Intake
  • 25-Hydroxy-Vitamin D Status
  • Pancreatic Cancer
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Medicine
  • Physics

Abstract

Sun exposure has been associated with lower death rates for pancreatic cancer in ecological studies. Skin exposure to solar ultraviolet B radiation induces cutaneous production of precursors to 25-hydroxy (OH) vitamin D (D) and is considered the primary contributor to vitamin D status in most populations. Pancreatic islet and duct cells express 25-(OH) D 3-1α-hydroxylase that generates the biologically active 1,25-dihydroxy(OH) 2 D form. Thus, 25(OH)D concentrations could affect pancreatic function and possibly pancreatic cancer etiology. Serum 25-(OH)D is the major circulating vitamin D metabolite and is considered the best indicator of vitamin D status as determined by the sun and diet. Although recent prospective epidemiologic studies of higher predicted vitamin D status score and vitamin D intake and pancreatic cancer risk suggest protective associations, a nested case-control study showed a significant 3-fold increased risk for pancreatic cancer with higher vitamin D status. Limitations of these studies include the former do not measure vitamin D status on pancreatic cancer cases and the later was conducted in a male smoker population. More research is needed, particularly examination of pre-diagnostic vitamin D status and risk of pancreatic cancer, prior to conclusions for vitamin D's potential role in the etiology of this highly fatal cancer.

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