October 19, 2010
Genetic Predisposition Skin Cancer May Hinge On Vitamin D
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Patients with basal cell nevus syndrome, which predisposes them to develop non-melanoma skin cancers, appear to be at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency if they take steps to protect themselves from sunlight.
"Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of autoimmune disease, fractures, cancer, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality," the authors were quoted as saying. "There is increasing concern that sun protection, recommended by dermatologists to prevent further UV damage in populations susceptible to skin cancer, may result in abnormally low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D, a blood measure of vitamin D levels], which may have subsequent detrimental effects on health."
The 41-patient test group had blood drawn an average of three times during the two-year study; 23 (56 percent) were vitamin D deficient. When compared with the general population, patients with basal cell nevus syndrome had lower average vitamin D levels and were three times more likely to be deficient.
Blood vitamin D levels were lower among patients with basal cell nevus syndrome who were overweight, and in those who had blood collected in the winter compared with the summer.
Among 35 patients with basal cell nevus syndrome who completed a survey, 28 (80 percent) reported using sunscreen daily and most reported avoiding sunshine during the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. "It may not be surprising that patients with a genetic predisposition to sun-induced cancers report a high frequency of photoprotection and may be vitamin D deficient," the authors write. "However, the magnitude of this deficiency and the possible additive effect of obesity, which is common in these patients, make individuals with basal cell nevus syndrome optimal candidates for cholecalciferol supplementation."
SOURCE: Archives of Dermatology, October 2010