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Do you know how to prevent lethal prostate cancer?

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By David Liu PHD

Monday April 16, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Prostate cancer in most cases is non-lethal and preventable.  But in some cases they are.  And a new study released in the April 12, 2012 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that maintaining high levels of serum vitamin D may help prevent lethal prostate cancer, which have something to do with certain genetic variants.

The study led by Irene M. Shui of Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues found men who had their prediagnostic serum vitamin D levels in the highest quartile were 57 percent less likely to develop lethal prostate cancer, compared with those whose vitamin D levels were in the lowest quartile.

Early studies did not yield a consistent conclusion on the association of vitamin D status and risk of prostate cancer and actually, according to the authors, there was no association observed for overall incidence.  However, there is a potential link with lethal prostate cancer, they claimed.

The study enlisted 1260 men who were diagnosd with prostate cancer and 1331 men who had no prostate cancer.  All men who were enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study provided a blood sample in 1993 to 1995 to have the prediagnostic serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]  levels determined.  Men with prostate cancer were followed through March 2011 for lethal outcomes and as a result, 114 died from lethal prostate cancer.

Although prediganostic vitamin D levels were linked to the risk of lethal prostate cancer, the researchers found no statistically significant association between plasma 25(OH)D levels with overall prostate cancer. 

Additionally, seven vitamin D related genes including CYP27A1, CYP2R1, CYP27B1, GC, CYP24A1, RXRA, and VDR were found associated with risk of lethal prostate cancer.

In conclusion, Shui  and colleagues said in their report that "In this prospective study, plasma 25(OH)D levels and common variation among several vitamin D–related genes were associated with lethal prostate cancer risk, suggesting that vitamin D is relevant for lethal prostate cancer."

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