Is Skin Cancer Risk Influenced by Vitamin D Serum Levels?
Posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Francisco José Rodríguez-Velasco, PhD, of the University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain, and colleagues compared vitamin D serum levels among patients with non-melanoma skin cancer and healthy subjects to determine its associated risk factor for skin cancer. Published in PeerJ, these data suggest that vitamin D serum levels higher than 18 ng/mL may correlate with an increased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.
“Our results provide useful information for acquiring further knowledge on the relationship between vitamin D and non-melanoma skin cancer,” the study authors concluded. “Further studies with a larger number of participants and more information about possible confounding factors are needed to confirm or reject our results.”
This case-controlled study enrolled 41 patients with histologically diagnosed basal cell carcinoma and/or squamous cell carcinoma and 43 healthy controls who had similar sun-exposure habits. Blood samples were collected from both groups, along with demographics such as age and sex. Controls were examined to ensure they did not have any type of skin cancer.
The mean patient age was 66.9. Interestingly, just over half (59.5%) of all participants had a deficit of vitamin D, which was defined as lower than 20 ng/mL, and 14.3% of patients had normal levels of between 30 and 60 ng/mL. Notably, more individuals in the control group had serum vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/mL than those with skin cancer (76.7% vs. 41.5%).
Serum vitamin D levels above 18 ng/mL appeared to increase the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers when compared with lower levels (odds ratio [OR] = 5.01) and accounted for a nearly sevenfold increase when adjusting for sex, age, and vitamin D levels (OR = 6.94). Additionally, being older than 70 seemed to correlate with increased risk (OR = 58.59), and female sex correlated with decreased risk of skin cancer (OR = 0.11).
Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.