High Levels of Vitamin D Linked to Lower Colon Cancer Risk

Association was stronger in lean, physically active patients than in overweight or sedentary patients

THURSDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- High plasma levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, particularly colon cancer, according to the results of a nested case-control study published in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The association was stronger in lean, physically active patients than in sedentary or overweight patients.

Kana Wu, M.D., Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined data from 179 male colorectal cancer patients recruited through the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were matched to 356 controls. They also examined data from female patients from the previously published Nurses' Health Study.

Data from the Health Professionals Study suggested there was a significant inverse relationship between plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D and colon cancer (odds ratio, 0.46 for highest versus lowest quartile), but not colorectal cancer. When the results of both studies were pooled, an inverse relationship was seen for both malignancies (OR, 0.66 for colorectal cancer, 0.54 for colon cancer).

"Future studies should examine possible interactions between vitamin D and certain factors, including calcium and retinol intake and adiposity with regard to colorectal cancer risk," the authors conclude.

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