High levels of vitamin D are associated with protection against bladder cancer, according to a multidisciplinary study coordinated by molecular biologists and epidemiologists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), the conclusions of which are being published today in the Journal of National Cancer Institute (JNCI) .
The study has been led by N-ria Malats, head of the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Group, and Francisco X. Real, from the Epithelial Carcinogenesis Group, at the CNIO.
The authors of the study took blood samples from more than 2,000 individuals-including patients with bladder cancer and control subjects free from the disease-in 18 Spanish hospitals, making of this the largest study carried out to-date in this field. "We have seen that those subjects with the highest levels of 25(OH)D3, a stable form of vitamin D in the blood, are those who showed the lowest risk of suffering bladder cancer. These results indicate that high levels of this vitamin are associated with protection from the illness or, similarly, that low levels are associated with a higher risk of suffering from it", says Malats.
"We have also shown, using in vitro molecular analysis, that vitamin D regulates the expression of a protein-FGFR3-that takes part in the development of bladder cancer", adds Real.
According to the study, this protective effect is more obvious in those patients with more aggressive cancers. "We observe that high levels of vitamin D diminish, above all, the risk of developing invasive bladder cancer with low levels of FGFR3; which is to say those cancers with the highest probability of metastizing", says Andr- FS Amaral, first author of the study.
The research results suggest that an increase in the dietary or supplementary intake of this vitamin, or via a controlled increase in sun exposure, might be beneficial for the patient in terms of prevention and treatment.
MORE THAN 11,000 NEW CASES EACH YEAR IN SPAIN