Harvard Men's Health Watch

Can vitamin D levels signal aggressive prostate cancer?

In the Journals

A study published online Feb. 22, 2016, for the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests that low vitamin D levels may help predict aggressive prostate cancer.

Aggressive cancer is defined by a Gleason score of eight to 10—which means the cancer cells are more likely to spread—and whether the cancer has moved outside of the prostate.

The study involved 190 men, average age 64, who had their prostate surgically removed. After the surgery, the 87 men who were found to have more aggressive forms of prostate cancer were more likely to have low blood levels of vitamin D (below 30 nanograms per milliliter).

While this study only showed an association, the researchers believe low vitamin D levels might be used as a valuable biomarker, and help men and their doctors decide whether to consider active surveillance, in which the cancer is monitored for changes, instead of opting for surgery.