Bladder cancerPrevention

Several studies have investigated incidence rates of bladder cancer with respect to oral vitamin D intake. In an early case-control study (CCS), no significant difference with respect to oral intake of vitamin D was found1. However, in a recent CCS, an odds ratio of 0.58 (95% confidence interval, 0.31-1.06, ptrend = 0.22) was found. Subsequently the same authors reported: Increased odds of bladder cancer were also observed for participants with highest intake of phosphorus and lowest intake of vitamin D (OR: 4.25; 95% CI: 1.44–12.55)2.

In a nested case control study (NCCS) of oral intake of vitamin D with a 12-year follow-up period, a risk ratio of 1.06 (0.75-1.50), p trend = 0.96 was found3. NCCS are considered less reliable than CCS since vitamin D intake or serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] level varies with time. Studies with follow-up times of zero (CCS) or out to 3 years (NCCS) have found inverse correlations between serum 25(OH)D level and breast cancer incidence, but not for longer times4.

There does not exist a serum 25(OH)D level-bladder cancer incidence curve. However, based on what is known about solar UVB doses and bladder cancer mortality rates from ecological studies and serum 25(OH)D-incidence relations for breast and colorectal cancer5 6 7 8, it appears that maintaining serum 25(OH)D levels in the 40-60 ng/mL (100-150 nmol/l) range might reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 10-20%.

There has been one successful randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation with respect to cancer incidence.  In a study involving post menopausal women living in Nebraska, those taking 1100 IU/day of vitamin D3 and 1450 mg/day of calcium had a 77% reduction in all-cancer incidence between the ends of the first and fourth years, while those taking only the calcium had a non-statistically significant 40% risk reduction9.

Page last edited: 24 August 2011


  1. Vena, J. E. Graham, S. Freudenheim, J. Marshall, J. Zielezny, M. Swanson, M. Sufrin, G. Diet in the epidemiology of bladder cancer in western New York. Nutr Cancer. 1992; 18 (3): 255-64.
  2. Brinkman, M. T. Buntinx, F. Kellen, E. Dagnelie, P. C. Van Dongen, M. C. Muls, E. Zeegers, M. P. Dietary intake of micronutrients and the risk of developing bladder cancer: results from the Belgian case-control study on bladder cancer risk. Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Mar; 22 (3): 469-78.
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