High levels of vitamin D in plasma protects against bladder cancer

October 30, 2012

High levels of vitamin D are associated with protection against bladder cancer, according to a multidisciplinary study coordinated by molecular biologists and epidemiologists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), the conclusions of which are being published today in the Journal of National Cancer Institute (JNCI) .

The study has been led by Núria Malats, head of the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Group, and Francisco X. Real, from the Epithelial Carcinogenesis Group, at the CNIO.

The authors of the study took blood samples from more than 2,000 individuals—including patients with bladder cancer and control subjects free from the disease—in 18 Spanish hospitals, making of this the largest study carried out to-date in this field. "We have seen that those subjects with the highest levels of 25(OH)D3, a stable form of vitamin D in the blood, are those who showed the lowest risk of suffering bladder cancer. These results indicate that high levels of this vitamin are associated with protection from the illness or, similarly, that low levels are associated with a higher risk of suffering from it", says Malats.

"We have also shown, using in vitro molecular analysis, that vitamin D regulates the expression of a —FGFR3—that takes part in the development of bladder cancer", adds Real.

According to the study, this protective effect is more obvious in those patients with more aggressive cancers. "We observe that high levels of vitamin D diminish, above all, the risk of developing with low levels of FGFR3; which is to say those cancers with the highest probability of metastizing", says André FS Amaral, first author of the study.

The research results suggest that an increase in the dietary or supplementary intake of this vitamin, or via a controlled increase in , might be beneficial for the patient in terms of prevention and treatment.

More than 11,000 new cases each year in spain

represents a serious public health problem in many countries, especially Spain, where 11,000 new cases are registered each year, one of the highest rates anywhere in the world. In fact, it is the fourth most frequent type of tumour among Spanish males, after prostate, lung and colorectal cancers.

Following diagnosis, patients are continually observed with different follow-up techniques, among them cystoscopy, which requires the introduction of a small camera via the urethra to observe the bladder lining.

This type of follow-up affects the patients' quality of life and imposes heavy costs on healthcare authorities, thus further increasing the need to improve prevention strategies faced with this type of cancer.

Recent studies relate levels with other types of cancer like breast or colon cancer. Despite this research, it is still not clearly understood which molecular routes are used by this vitamin to exercise its protective effect, or the role it plays in other types of tumours.

Explore further: Vitamin D deficiency common in cancer patients

Related Stories

Vitamin D deficiency common in cancer patients

October 3, 2011

More than three-quarters of cancer patients have insufficient levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxy-vitamin D) and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancer, according to a study presented on October 2, 2011, at ...

Vitamin D influences racial differences in breast cancer risk

April 4, 2012

American women of African ancestry are more likely than European Americans to have estrogen receptor (ER) negative breast cancer. There continues to be discussion about the role of low levels of vitamin D in the development ...

Some diabetes drugs may increase risk of bladder cancer

July 3, 2012

An increased risk of bladder cancer is linked to the use of pioglitazone, a medication commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Recommended for you

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

November 26, 2015

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.