Prostate cancer is considered as the most common cancer and the second deadly cancer in men. The prostate tumors could become more aggressive in men who have low levels of Vitamin D, as a new research, recently published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, among roughly 200 men removed their prostate due to cancer in the past.
“If men with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have [more advanced disease] at the time of prostate surgery, then perhaps men should be tested for this when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer and subsequently supplemented with vitamin D if they are deficient”, said Dr. Adam Murphy, a researcher as well as an assistant professor of Urology at Northwestern University in Chicago.
The study shows that nearly 46 percent of participants had highly aggressive prostate cancer, and among them, a great number of men were diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency prior to undergoing surgery.
However, the heart of the issue is that the study only emphasizes the link between having deficient vitamin D and more aggressive prostate cancer. It is not enough to conclude that low levels in vitamin D is another cause leading to more severe prostate cancer.
Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Chief of Radiation Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, though, thinks it is lack of available evidence to say that vitamin D supplements can contribute to the cancer prevention or make it less aggressive. It could be a hypothesis and worth for testing.
Early studies based on bloods have already indicated an association between vitamin D levels and aggressive forms of prostate cancer. They contributed to prior to treatment.
One of the previous researches conducted by Murphy and colleagues presented that African American men living in low sunlight locations have 1.5 increased risks for vitamin D deficiency compared with Caucasian men. Otherwise, men who lack exposure to sun or have dark skin are said to be vulnerable to prostate cancer.
“Vitamin D deficiency may predict aggressive prostate cancer as a biomarker”, said Murphy. “Men with dark skin, low vitamin D intake or low sun exposure should be tested for vitamin D deficiency when they are diagnosed with an elevated PSA or prostate cancer. Then a deficiency should be corrected with supplements”.
The new research provides a more apparent and direct connection between vitamin D inadequacy and prostate cancer aggression since it measured the vitamin D levels a few months before the tumor was detected as aggressive during the surgery to remove the prostate.
The study was part of a larger ongoing study of 1,760 men in the Chicago area examining vitamin D and prostate cancer.