Vitamin D linked to reduced risk of lung cancer: Meta analysis

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Vitamin D linked to reduced risk of lung cancer: Meta analysis

Related tags Lung cancer Cancer

Increasing vitamin D status is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing lung cancer, according to a new meta-analysis of existing data.

Findings from the study, published in Cancer Causes & Control​, suggest that the risk of lung cancer may be reduced by 5% for every 10 nmol/L increase of vitamin D intake.

The international research team, who worked in partnership with scientists at DSM, noted that while previous studies have suggested a link between vitamin D status and a variety of cancers, prospective observational studies examining the association between the circulating form of vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), and lug have so far provided inconsistent findings.

“This is a significant result, as lung cancer is one of the top five cancers diagnosed among men and women, as well as being among the most common causes of death in the world,” ​commented ProfessorLi-qiang Qin from Soochow University in China – who led the work.

“More research is needed to determine whether a further increase has positive effects in reducing the risk of cancer, however this outcome helps us raise awareness of vitamin D health benefits."

Meanwhile, Dr Weiguo Zhang, corresponding author from DSM Nutritional Products, China, noted that 88% of the world’s population has sub-optimal vitamin D levels – adding that studies like the current meta-analysis help to understand how micronutrients affect the human body and how certain conditions can be prevented with increased and targeted intake.

“The new study adds to a larger body of evidence which demonstrates the emerging roles of vitamin D in protecting populations from developing other cancer risks, for instance, colon and breast cancer,” ​addedDr Manfred Eggersdorfer, Senior Vice President, Nutrition, Science & Advocacy at DSM.


Li-qiang and his colleagues performed a dose–response meta-analysis assess whether different levels of vitamin D status were related to an altered risk of lung cancer.

The team analysed data from 13 reports in ten prospective studies, totalling 2,227 lung cancer events. 

The meta-analysis found evidence of a non-linear relationship between 25(OH)D and lung cancer – finding a significant 5 % reduction in relative risk of developing lung cancer for each 10 nmol/L increment in 25(OH)D concentrations. 

They noted that the greatest reduction in risk was found at a vitamin D status of around 53 nmol/L, which remained protective up to 90 nmol/L.  

“Further increases showed no significant association with cancer risk, but scanty data were included in the analyses of high-level 25(OH)D,”​ the team reported. 

“This dose–response meta-analysis of prospective studies suggests that 25(OH)D may be associated with reduced risk of lung cancer, in particular among subjects with vitamin D deficiencies,”​ they concluded. 

Source: Cancer Causes & Control
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.​1007/​s10552-015-0665-6
“Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of lung cancer: a dose–response meta-analysis”
Authors: Guo-Chong Chen, et al

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