Pancreatic cancerPrevention

There are no studies of using vitamin D to prevent pancreatic cancer (PC). However, a recent review summarized the situation as follows:

Pancreatic cancer is a malignancy of poor prognosis which is mostly diagnosed at advanced stages. Current treatment modalities are very limited creating great interest for novel preventive and therapeutic options. Vitamin D seems to have a protective effect against pancreatic cancer by participating in numerous proapoptotic, antiangiogenic, anti-inflammatory, prodifferentiating, and immunomodulating mechanisms. 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] serum concentrations are currently the best indicator of vitamin D status. There are three main sources of vitamin D: sun exposure, diet,and dietary supplements. Sun exposure has been associated with lower incidence of pancreatic cancer in ecological studies. Increased vitamin D levels seem to protect against pancreatic cancer, but caution is needed as excessive dietary intake may have opposite results. Future studies will verify the role of vitamin D in the prevention and therapy of pancreatic cancer and will lead to guidelines on adequate sun exposure and vitamin D dietary intake1.

Based on the Harvard cohort studies and the serum 25(OH)D level cancer incidence relations for breast and colorectal cancer2 3 4, it appears that serum levels above 30-40 ng/mL might reduce the risk of PC by 25-35%, at least for nonsmokers. 

Page last edited: 01 July 2011


  1. Bulathsinghala, P. Syrigos, K. N. Saif, M. W. Role of vitamin d in the prevention of pancreatic cancer. Journal of nutrition and metabolism. 2010; 2010721365.
  2. Gandini, S. Boniol, M. Haukka, J. Byrnes, G. Cox, B. Sneyd, M. J. Mullie, P. Autier, P. Meta-analysis of observational studies of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and colorectal, breast and prostate cancer and colorectal adenoma. Int J Cancer. 2010 May 6;
  3. Grant, W. B. Re: "Overview of the Cohort Consortium Vitamin D Pooling Project of Rarer Cancers". Am J Epidemiol. 2010 Sep 8;
  4. Yin, L. Grandi, N. Raum, E. Haug, U. Arndt, V. Brenner, H. Meta-analysis: serum vitamin D and breast cancer risk. Eur J Cancer. 2010 Aug; 46 (12): 2196-205.