Study shows link between vitamin D, skin cancer

March 4, 2010

A Henry Ford Hospital study has shown a link between Vitamin D levels and basal cell carcinoma, a finding that could lead researchers to better understand the development of the most common form of skin cancer.

In a small study, researchers at Henry Ford and Wayne State University found elevated levels of Vitamin D enzymes and proteins in cancerous tissue taken from 10 patients compared to normal skin tissue taken from them.

Previous studies have linked with certain cancers but this is believed to be the first time researchers looked at Vitamin D and basal cell .

"This finding may help us in future research to determine whether vitamin D plays a causative or reactive role in the development and progression of skin cancer," says Iltefat Hamzavi, M.D., senior staff physician in Henry Ford's Department of Dermatology and the study's lead author.

The study will be presented at the Photomedicine Society's annual meeting in Miami, one day before the American Academy of Dermatology's annual meeting.

Basal cell carcinoma, which affects about 1 million Americans a year, is the most common form of skin cancer. This cancer forms in the basal cells of the deepest layer of the skin. Mohs micrographic surgery is one of the most effective treatments for removing .

The 10 patients enrolled in the study were diagnosed with and ranged in age from 43 to 83. All had biopsies taken of cancerous tissue and surrounding normal skin tissue. Researchers found a 10-fold increase in Vitamin D enzyme levels and a two-fold increase in Vitamin D protein levels. The enzymes and proteins help regulate levels of Vitamin D in the skin. Two genes that play a role in DNA and tumor repair also had elevated levels of in compared to normal tissue.

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3 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2010
So what's the surprise?
Henry ford should have stuck to cars if it is studying "vitamin D" without knowing it is a steroid.
Cancer is now recognised as an autoimmune disease and steroids are immunosuppressant so this isn't news at all.
The researchers would do well to contact the Autoimmune research foundation,
It would have saved them a lot of work.
3 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2010
Vitamin D enzymes are present to convert inactive D3 to the active forms 25(HO)D3 and 1',25-(HO)2D3.

Also see:
5 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2010
"determine whether vitamin D plays a causative or reactive role in the development and progression of skin cancer"

Wow, isn't it obvious? Greater exposure to the sun results in higher levels of vitamin D. Tanning or being in the sun too much will cause skin cancer. Note to scientists and statisticians involved in this study: correlation does not equal causation.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 05, 2010
Great. One day they tell you to take Vitamin D supplements and the next not to. Same with Coffee, Butter, etc. Guess we should just do our own thing, but do it in moderation.
not rated yet Mar 05, 2010
As vitamin d is neither an enzyme nor a protein can someone actually explain what they mean or point me to an abstract.
not rated yet Mar 05, 2010
I am guessing reactive. Skin cancer is a malfunction of the place where vitamin D is created. Vitamin D might also have a role in preventing cancer which could make it show up in the cancer. I find it hard to believe that a vitamin that is essential to our health could cause cancer. Also they don't mention if any of the subjects were taking vitamin D. I think the only way D could be causative would be if these people were taking mega-doses of D and then got cancer. And probably not then either.
not rated yet Mar 05, 2010
Fourthrocker seems to be the only logical person that read this article. It specifically states that they don't know if the elevated vitamin D is a cause or an effect. Based on what we know about vitamin D, it's likely an effect. As in it is there to try and stem the cancer, not there causing it.
not rated yet Mar 05, 2010
RahKnee - based on what we actually know about vitamin D, it's likely neither a cause or effect. That's like assuming that having red blood cells is either a cause or effect of having malaria! Just because a component is found in a system does not mean that the component has a direct relationship with another component, or any relationship at all.
not rated yet Mar 05, 2010
This article goes a long way to explain,
But bluntly, steroids depress the immune system and cancer is just a symptom of autoimmune disease.
Vit D is a steroid, QED.
Take steroids and get sick, cut them out and get well.

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