Variant of vitamin D receptor gene linked to melanoma risk

September 22, 2008

A new analysis indicates an association between a gene involved in vitamin D metabolism and skin cancer. Published in the November 1, 2008 issue of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study suggests that individuals with certain variants in a vitamin D-related gene, called BsmI, may be at an increased risk of developing melanoma.

Research has shown that vitamin D in the body has significant protective effects against the development of cancer because it regulates cell growth, cell differentiation and cell death. This is supported by evidence that sun exposure, which helps in the production of vitamin D, can have anticancer effects.

Vitamin D exerts its effects by binding to a receptor located within cells. Because there are genetic differences in this vitamin D receptor among individuals, investigators suspect that different people have different levels of vitamin D activity within their bodies. Therefore, some individuals may naturally be able to achieve more vitamin D-related protection against cancer than others. However, study results on this topic have been conflicting, and no review of the available data has been performed to date.

To address this issue, Dr. Simone Mocellin and Dr. Donato Nitti of the University of Padova in Italy examined the existing research investigating the association between common variants in the vitamin D receptor and the risk of melanoma. The analysis revealed a significant association between melanoma risk and the BsmI gene.

The researchers note that additional research is needed to validate this link, and called for well-designed, population-based, large, multi-institutional studies to test whether any vitamin D receptor variant is independently associated with melanoma risk.

"These findings prompt further investigation on this subject and indirectly support the hypothesis that sun exposure might have an anti-melanoma effect through activation of the vitamin D system," the authors wrote.

Source: American Cancer Society

Explore further: Genetic marker in vitamin D receptor gene associated with increased pancreatic cancer survival

Related Stories

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 ...

Recommended for you

Dogs detect breast cancer from bandage: researchers

March 24, 2017

Dogs can sniff out cancer from a piece of cloth which had touched the breast of a woman with a tumour, researchers said Friday, announcing the results of an unusual, but promising, diagnostic trial.

'Jumonji' protein key to Ewing's sarcoma rampage

March 24, 2017

By the time Ewing's Sarcoma is diagnosed, primarily in teens and young adults, it has often spread from its primary site to other parts of the body, making it difficult to treat. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study ...

In a sample of blood, researchers probe for cancer clues

March 24, 2017

One day, patients may be able to monitor their body's response to cancer therapy just by having their blood drawn. A new study, led by bioengineers at UC Berkeley, has taken an important step in that direction by measuring ...

Researchers gain insight into breast cancer drug resistance

March 24, 2017

Breast cancer's ability to develop resistance to treatment has frustrated researchers and physicians and has thwarted even the latest and greatest targeted therapies. For example, after researchers identified a disease pathway ...

0 comments

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.