Sunlight, vitamin D and prostate cancer epidemiology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews the status of vitamin D in prostate cancer epidemiology. Interpretation of this literature requires an appreciation of methodological issues in epidemiologic studies as well as issues pertinent to the natural history of prostate cancer. The vitamin D hypothesis has stimulated extensive investigations in prostate cancer, ranging from the laboratory to the clinic and to healthy populations. Epidemiologic evidence that vitamin D and sunlight exert protective effects on the risk of prostate cancer in populations is less clear. A north-south gradient in prostate cancer mortality in the USA is well established. However, studies of serum 25(OH)D on the risk of prostate cancer in individuals do not support a protective role for higher levels of 25(OH)D. However, an increased risk in the presence of vitamin D deficiency, particularly in conjunction with polymorphisms in the vitamin D receptor (VDR), is supported by several studies. The evidence for a protective role of vitamin D in prostate cancer is stronger for Epidemiologic studies of sunlight exposure, many of which demonstrate that lifetime solar exposure is protective. The differences in the results of these studies may be explicable, at least in part, by methodological differences in study design and by uncertainty about the time period when exposure to vitamin D is most important for protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVitamin D
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780123819789
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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