Role of Weak sunlight and low Vitamin D levels in relation to Pancreatic cancer incidence

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report pancreatic cancer rates are highest in countries with the least amount of sunlight. Low sunlight levels were due to a combination of heavy cloud cover and high latitude.

"If you're living at a high latitude or in a place with a lot of heavy cloud cover, you can't make vitamin D most of the year, which results in a higher-than-normal risk of getting pancreatic cancer," said first author Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, adjunct professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and member of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. "People who live in sunny countries near the equator have only one-sixth of the age-adjusted incidence rate of pancreatic cancer as those who live far from it. The importance of sunlight deficiency strongly suggests - but does not prove - that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to risk of pancreatic cancer."

The UC San Diego team, led by Garland and Edward D. Gorham, PhD, associate professor, had previously shown that sufficient levels of a metabolite of vitamin D in the serum, known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D was associated with substantially lower risk of breast and colorectal cancer. The current paper is the first to implicate vitamin D deficiency with pancreatic cancer.

Researchers studied data from 107 countries, taking into account international differences and possible confounders, such as alcohol consumption, obesity and smoking. "While these other factors also contribute to risk, the strong inverse association with cloud-cover adjusted sunlight persisted even after they were accounted for," said Garland.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-04/uoc--pcr042815.php
http://www.ucsd.edu/

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