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Low vitamin D status associated with bladder cancer

Posted on: December 5, 2016   by  Vitamin D Council


A study published by the Nutrition Journal found that maintaining vitamin D levels > 30 ng/ml was associated with a 60% decreased risk in developing bladder cancer.

There is a lack of research evaluating the optimal vitamin D status for bladder cancer prevention. Therefore, researchers recently conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the current literature regarding the relationship between vitamin D status and bladder cancer up to April, 2015.

A total of 7 studies with 90,757 participants, 2509 of which had bladder cancer, were included in the analysis. The researchers applied a dose-response curve by separating the participant’s vitamin D status into the following quintiles:

  • Severely deficient: < 10 ng/ml
  • Moderately deficient: 10-14 ng/ml
  • Slightly deficient: 15-20 ng/ml
  • Insufficient: 21-29 ng/ml
  • Sufficient: > 30 ng/ml

The researchers found that vitamin D levels > 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l) provided the most protective effect against bladder cancer, compared to all other 25(OH)D levels (OR: 0.68). Additionally, an inverse relationship between bladder cancer risk and 25(OH)D status was observed (p = 0.007).

The researchers concluded,

“The serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D concentration ≥74 nmol/L (30 ng/ml) was associated with a 60% lower risk of bladder cancer incidence.”

They went on to state,

“Ensuring sufficient serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D concentrations might play an important role in decreasing the risk of bladder cancer.”

The topic was further analyzed in a study led Dr. Rosemary Bland that was recently presented at the annual conference of the Society for Endocrinology in Brighton. The systematic review also evaluated a total of 7 studies, 5 of which showing that low vitamin D status is linked with increased risk for developing bladder cancer. In a subsequent experiment, the researchers determined that the cells lining the bladder initiate an immune response in the presence of vitamin D.

Dr. Bland concluded,

“More clinical studies are required to test this association, but our work suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the blood may prevent the cells within the bladder from stimulating an adequate response to abnormal cells. As vitamin D is cheap and safe, its potential use in cancer prevention is exciting and could potentially impact on the lives of many people.”


Zhao, Y. et al. Comparative efficacy of vitamin D status in reducing the risk of bladder cancer: A systematic review and network meta-analysis. Nutrition Journal, 2016.

Low vitain D levels linked to increased risk of bladder cancer. EurekAlert!, 2016. 


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