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Higher vitamin D levels associated with lower risks of liver cancer and death from chronic liver disease

Results suggest a possible preventive role for vitamin D against liver cancer and chronic liver disease
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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

August 22 2018. A study reported on August 16, 2018 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found an association between higher circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and lower risks of liver cancer and mortality from chronic liver disease. According to authors Gabriel Y. Lai of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute and colleagues, a link between decreased vitamin D levels and chronic liver disease and liver cancer has been observed in laboratory investigations, yet there have been few epidemiologic studies that have evaluated the associations.

The study included 854 Finnish male smokers enrolled in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study whose vitamin D levels were measured in blood serum samples collected upon enrollment. Two hundred-two patients were diagnosed with liver cancer and 225 subjects died from liver disease during a follow-up period approaching 25 years. Four hundred twenty-seven subjects without liver disease or liver cancer served as controls.

Among subjects with deficient serum 25(OH)D concentrations of less than 10 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) there was a 91% higher adjusted risk of liver cancer and a 67% greater risk of dying from chronic liver disease compared to those whose levels were greater than 20 ng/mL. Similar associations were observed after excluding subjects with diabetes, hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

“Our results suggest a possible preventive role for vitamin D against liver cancer and chronic liver disease,” Dr Lai and colleagues conclude. “Future studies are needed to evaluate associations of vitamin D with liver cancer and liver disease in other populations, particularly those with a different constellation of risk factors.”

—D Dye

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