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31-10-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Vitamin D deficiency may provide etiologic link to ovarian cancer


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Study findings show that women with ovarian cancer have lower vitamin D levels than the general population.

This may explain the "long described" higher incidence of ovarian cancer in more extreme latitudes where sun exposure, and thus, vitamin D exposure, is lower, suggest Arvind Bakhru (University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, USA) and colleagues.

The study included data from 7,273 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 28 of whom had ovarian cancer.

Bakhru et al analyzed possible associations between factors associated with low (<23 ng/dl) serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels, including smoking and diabetes status, and those associated with ovarian cancer, including oral contraceptive use and parity.

More ovarian cancer patients had low 25(OH)D levels compared with the remaining women in the study, at 12.6 percent versus 1.6 percent, reports the team.

Indeed, multivariate analysis showed that ovarian cancer patients were 3.68 times more likely to have a low 25(OH)D level compared with the other women in the study.

The increased likelihood of low 25(OH)D levels in cancer patients remained even after addition of potential confounders to the analysis (such as age, body mass index, and diet).

"Further epidemiologic research is needed to understand time trends of vitamin D, account for simultaneous exposure from sunlight and diet, and clarify the causal relationship," conclude Bakhru and team.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy

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