Vitamin D supplementation and cancer: Review of randomized controlled trials

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Abstract

Data from experimental studies suggest that vitamin D receptor activation exerts anti-cancer effects on virtually all steps of carcinogenesis. Epidemiological data support an inverse association of vitamin D serum levels and vitamin D receptor polymorphisms with cancer incidence and mortality. Based on this promising rationale for use of vitamin D and its analogues in cancer prevention and treatment, several interventional studies have been initiated and partially published. Trials with vitamin D were mainly organized for the prevention of fracture in elderly people, usually in association with calcium supplements. Prevention studies with vitamin D have rarely been done in the context of vitamin D to evaluate a protective effect on cancer. Findings from prospective cohort studies on colorectal cancer risk and on mortality constitute pieces of evidence strong enough to consider that previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of vitamin D use and cancer may not have correctly addressed the question, and that new randomized trials should be organized. The reasons are due to several unsolved issues including selection of the effective dose, varying baseline levels of subjects before randomization, compliance with the intervention, contamination of the placebo group (i.e., intake of vitamin D supplements by subjects allocated to the placebo group) and unknown effective lag time between start of the intervention and disease onset. The present review summarizes the existing knowledge on vitamin D RCTs and cancer. In addition we also briefly describe the design of some ongoing trials on vitamin D supplementation and cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-125
Number of pages8
JournalAnti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry
Volume13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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Vitamin D
Randomized Controlled Trials
Neoplasms
Calcitriol Receptors
Placebos
Mortality
Random Allocation
Colorectal Neoplasms
Carcinogenesis
Cohort Studies
Prospective Studies
Calcium
Incidence
Serum

Keywords

  • Cancer incidence
  • Cancer mortality
  • Randomized controlled trials
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

Cite this

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abstract = "Data from experimental studies suggest that vitamin D receptor activation exerts anti-cancer effects on virtually all steps of carcinogenesis. Epidemiological data support an inverse association of vitamin D serum levels and vitamin D receptor polymorphisms with cancer incidence and mortality. Based on this promising rationale for use of vitamin D and its analogues in cancer prevention and treatment, several interventional studies have been initiated and partially published. Trials with vitamin D were mainly organized for the prevention of fracture in elderly people, usually in association with calcium supplements. Prevention studies with vitamin D have rarely been done in the context of vitamin D to evaluate a protective effect on cancer. Findings from prospective cohort studies on colorectal cancer risk and on mortality constitute pieces of evidence strong enough to consider that previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of vitamin D use and cancer may not have correctly addressed the question, and that new randomized trials should be organized. The reasons are due to several unsolved issues including selection of the effective dose, varying baseline levels of subjects before randomization, compliance with the intervention, contamination of the placebo group (i.e., intake of vitamin D supplements by subjects allocated to the placebo group) and unknown effective lag time between start of the intervention and disease onset. The present review summarizes the existing knowledge on vitamin D RCTs and cancer. In addition we also briefly describe the design of some ongoing trials on vitamin D supplementation and cancer.",
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AB - Data from experimental studies suggest that vitamin D receptor activation exerts anti-cancer effects on virtually all steps of carcinogenesis. Epidemiological data support an inverse association of vitamin D serum levels and vitamin D receptor polymorphisms with cancer incidence and mortality. Based on this promising rationale for use of vitamin D and its analogues in cancer prevention and treatment, several interventional studies have been initiated and partially published. Trials with vitamin D were mainly organized for the prevention of fracture in elderly people, usually in association with calcium supplements. Prevention studies with vitamin D have rarely been done in the context of vitamin D to evaluate a protective effect on cancer. Findings from prospective cohort studies on colorectal cancer risk and on mortality constitute pieces of evidence strong enough to consider that previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of vitamin D use and cancer may not have correctly addressed the question, and that new randomized trials should be organized. The reasons are due to several unsolved issues including selection of the effective dose, varying baseline levels of subjects before randomization, compliance with the intervention, contamination of the placebo group (i.e., intake of vitamin D supplements by subjects allocated to the placebo group) and unknown effective lag time between start of the intervention and disease onset. The present review summarizes the existing knowledge on vitamin D RCTs and cancer. In addition we also briefly describe the design of some ongoing trials on vitamin D supplementation and cancer.

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