Skip to main content

Vitamin D and Skin Cancer: Meet Sunshine Halfway

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Bioactive Dietary Factors and Plant Extracts in Dermatology

Part of the book series: Nutrition and Health ((NH))

Abstract

Skin cancers, with over one million new cases diagnosed annually in the United States alone and a high mortality, are virtually common. Solar radiation, the main source of vitamin D in the body, has been known as the major culprit of skin cancers, especially malignant melanoma. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence suggests a protective role for vitamin D against various kinds of non-skin cancers and a wide spectrum of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. It has been estimated that elevating blood concentrations of 25(OH)D to 100–150 nmol/L would lead to prevention of about 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer annually, and 75 % of the related deaths only in the United States and Canada.

The possible effect of insulin resistance on development of skin cancers can be a new argument. Many studies have reported the ameliorating effect of vitamin D on insulin resistance. Regulatory roles for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors and vitamin D receptor in melanoma cells growth and a functionally relevant cross talk between these nuclear signaling pathways have been reported.

Episodic intense sun exposures, compared to chronic exposures without sunburns, convey a greater risk for skin cancers. Deprivation of sun exposure, though may prevent skin cancer, will be at the cost of greater morbidity and mortality from various non-skin cancers, infections and chronic diseases all resulting from vitamin D deficiency. Chronic sun exposure without severe sunburns equaling 1/4–1 minimal erythemal dose (MED) a day, instead of episodic intense exposure, seems to provide enough endogenous vitamin D and conveys minimum risk of skin cancer, if any. Meanwhile, there is an urgent need for feasible as well as safe ways for improving vitamin D status at the community level.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 129.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 219.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

  1. Peller S. Skin irritation and cancer in the US Navy. Am J Med Sci. 1937;194:326–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Garland CF, Garland FC. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? Int J Epidemiol. 1980;9(3):227–31.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Garland C, Shekelle RB, Barrett-Connor E, Criqui MH, Rossof AH, Paul O. Dietary vitamin D and calcium and risk of colorectal cancer: a 19-year prospective study in men. Lancet. 1985;1(8424):307–9.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the US Navy. Arch Environ Health. 1990;45(5):261–7.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Oberyszyn TM. Non-melanoma skin cancer: importance of gender, immunosuppressive status and vitamin D. Cancer Lett. 2008;261(2):127–36.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Jemal A, Siegel R, Xu J, Ward E. Cancer statistics, 2010. CA Cancer J Clin. 2010;60(5):277–300.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Tucker MA. Is sunlight important to melanoma causation? Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008;17(3):467–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Garibyan L, Fisher DE. How sunlight causes melanoma. Curr Oncol Rep. 2010;12(5):319–26.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Bener A, Al-Ali M, Hoffmann GF. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in young children in a highly sunny humid country: a global health problem. Minerva Pediatr. 2009;61(1):15–22.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Tsiaras WG, Weinstock MA. Factors influencing vitamin D status. Acta Derm Venereol. 2011;91(2):115–24.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Christakos S, Ajibade DV, Dhawan P, Fechner AJ, Mady LJ. Vitamin D: metabolism. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2010;39(2):243–53. Table of contents.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Deftos LJ. Hypercalcemia in malignant and inflammatory diseases. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2002;31(1):141–58.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Gobel F, Taschner S, Jurkin J, Konradi S, Vaculik C, Richter S, et al. Reciprocal role of GATA-1 and vitamin D receptor in human myeloid dendritic cell differentiation. Blood. 2009;114(18):3813–21.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Mullins RJ, Camargo Jr CA. Shining a light on vitamin D and its impact on the developing immune system. Clin Exp Allergy. 2011;41(6):766–8.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. White JH. Vitamin D as an inducer of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide expression: past, present and future. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010;121(1–2):234–8.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Wiseman H. Vitamin D is a membrane antioxidant. Ability to inhibit iron-dependent lipid peroxidation in liposomes compared to cholesterol, ergosterol and tamoxifen and relevance to anticancer action. FEBS Lett. 1993;326(1–3):285–8.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Holick MF. Vitamin D: important for prevention of osteoporosis, cardiovascular heart disease, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers. South Med J. 2005;98(10):1024–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Holick MF. The vitamin D deficiency pandemic and consequences for nonskeletal health: mechanisms of action. Mol Aspects Med. 2008;29(6):361–8.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Margolis RN, Christakos S. The nuclear receptor superfamily of steroid hormones and vitamin D gene regulation. An update. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010;1192:208–14.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Nemere I, Garbi N, Hammerling GJ, Khanal RC. Intestinal cell calcium uptake and the targeted knockout of the 1,25D3-MARRS (membrane-associated, rapid response steroid-binding) receptor/PDIA3/Erp57. J Biol Chem. 2010;285(41):31859–66.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Pedrozo HA, Schwartz Z, Rimes S, Sylvia VL, Nemere I, Posner GH, et al. Physiological importance of the 1,25(OH)2D3 membrane receptor and evidence for a membrane receptor specific for 24,25(OH)2D3. J Bone Miner Res. 1999;14(6):856–67.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Marcinkowska E. A run for a membrane vitamin D receptor. Biol Signals Recept. 2001;10(6):341–9.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Park EA. The therapy of rickets. J Am Med Assoc. 1940;115:370–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Hollis BW. Circulating 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels indicative of vitamin D sufficiency: implications for establishing a new effective dietary intake recommendation for vitamin D. J Nutr. 2005;135:317–22.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Whiting SJ, Calvo MS. Dietary recommendations for vitamin D: a critical need for functional end points to establish an estimated average requirement. J Nutr. 2005;135(2):304–9.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Saintonge S, Bang H, Gerber LM. Implications of a new definition of vitamin D deficiency in a multiracial US adolescent population: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III. Pediatrics. 2009;123:797–803.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Holick MF, Chen TC. Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(4):1080S–6.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Heaney RP. Vitamin D: criteria for safety and efficacy. Nutr Rev. 2008;66(10 Suppl 2):S178–81.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Cashman KD, Hill TR, Lucey AJ, Taylor N, Seamans KM, Muldowney S, et al. Estimation of the dietary requirement for vitamin D in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(6):1535–42.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Mosekilde L. Vitamin D requirement and setting recommendation levels: long-term perspectives. Nutr Rev. 2008;66(10 Suppl 2):S170–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Pedersen JI. Vitamin D requirement and setting recommendation levels—current Nordic view. Nutr Rev. 2008;66(10 Suppl 2):S165–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Vieth R. Why the optimal requirement for Vitamin D3 is probably much higher than what is officially recommended for adults. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2004;89–90(1–5):575–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Glossmann H. Vitamin D UV, and skin cancer in the elderly: to expose or not to expose? Gerontology. 2011;57(4):350–3.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Holick MF, Chen TC, Lu Z, Sauter E. Vitamin D and skin physiology: a D-lightful story. J Bone Miner Res. 2007;22 Suppl 2:V28–33.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Dowdy JC, Sayre RM, Holick MF. Holick’s rule and vitamin D from sunlight. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010;121(1–2):328–30.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. Garland CF, Gorham ED, Mohr SB, Garland FC. Vitamin D for cancer prevention: global perspective. Ann Epidemiol. 2009;19(7):468–83.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Grant WB. A meta-analysis of second cancers after a diagnosis of nonmelanoma skin cancer: additional evidence that solar ultraviolet-B irradiance reduces the risk of internal cancers. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007;103(3–5):668–74.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Nicholas J. Vitamin D and cancer: uncertainty persists; research continues. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011;103(11):851–2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Dixon KM, Deo SS, Wong G, Slater M, Norman AW, Bishop JE, et al. Skin cancer prevention: a possible role of 1,25dihydroxyvitamin D3 and its analogs. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005;97(1–2):137–43.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. Godar DE, Landry RJ, Lucas AD. Increased UVA exposures and decreased cutaneous Vitamin D(3) levels may be responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma. Med Hypotheses. 2009;72(4):434–43.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. Saraiya M, Glanz K, Briss PA. Interventions to prevent skin cancer by reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Am J Prev Med. 2004;27(5):422–66.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Braun MM, Tucker MA. A role for photoproducts of vitamin D in the etiology of cutaneous melanoma? Med Hypotheses. 1997;48(4):351–4.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  43. Moan J, Porojnicu AC, Dahlback A, Setlow RB. Addressing the health benefits and risks, involving vitamin D or skin cancer, of increased sun exposure. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008;105(2):668–73.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  44. Soerjomataram I, Louwman WJ, Lemmens VE, Coebergh JW, de Vries E. Are patients with skin cancer at lower risk of developing colorectal or breast cancer? Am J Epidemiol. 2008;167(12):1421–9.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  45. Vinceti M, Malagoli C, Fiorentini C, Longo C, Crespi CM, Albertini G, et al. Inverse association between dietary vitamin D and risk of cutaneous melanoma in a northern Italy population. Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(4):506–13.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  46. Asgari MM, Maruti SS, Kushi LH, White E. A cohort study of vitamin D intake and melanoma risk. J Invest Dermatol. 2009;129(7):1675–80.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  47. Tang JY, Parimi N, Wu A, Boscardin WJ, Shikany JM, Chren MM, et al. Inverse association between serum 25(OH) vitamin D levels and non-melanoma skin cancer in elderly men. Cancer Causes Control. 2010;21(3):387–91.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Wheless L, Black J, Alberg AJ. Nonmelanoma skin cancer and the risk of second primary cancers: a systematic review. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010;19(7):1686–95.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. Han J, Colditz GA, Hunter DJ. Polymorphisms in the MTHFR and VDR genes and skin cancer risk. Carcinogenesis. 2007;28(2):390–7.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  50. Benjamin CL, Melnikova VO, Ananthaswamy HN. P53 protein and pathogenesis of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;624:265–82.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  51. Minamino T, Orimo M, Shimizu I, Kunieda T, Yokoyama M, Ito T, et al. A crucial role for adipose tissue p53 in the regulation of insulin resistance. Nat Med. 2009;15(9):1082–7.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  52. Derdak Z, Lang CH, Villegas KA, Tong M, Mark NM, de la Monte SM, et al. Activation of p53 enhances apoptosis and insulin resistance in a rat model of alcoholic liver disease. J Hepatol. 2011;54(1):164–72.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  53. Bensaad K, Tsuruta A, Selak MA, Vidal MN, Nakano K, Bartrons R, et al. TIGAR, a p53-inducible regulator of glycolysis and apoptosis. Cell. 2006;126(1):107–20.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  54. Gallagher EJ, LeRoith D. Insulin, insulin resistance, obesity, and cancer. Curr Diab Rep. 2010;10(2):93–100.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  55. Albanes D, Weinstein SJ, Wright ME, Mannisto S, Limburg PJ, Snyder K, et al. Serum insulin, glucose, indices of insulin resistance, and risk of prostate cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009;101(18):1272–9.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  56. Tsugane S, Inoue M. Insulin resistance and cancer: epidemiological evidence. Cancer Sci. 2010;101(5):1073–9.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  57. Burzawa JK, Schmeler KM, Soliman PT, Meyer LA, Bevers MW, Pustilnik TL, et al. Prospective evaluation of insulin resistance among endometrial cancer patients. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011;204(4):355 e1–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Duggan C, Irwin ML, Xiao L, Henderson KD, Smith AW, Baumgartner RN, et al. Associations of insulin resistance and adiponectin with mortality in women with breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2011;29(1):32–9.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  59. Petridou ET, Sergentanis TN, Antonopoulos CN, Dessypris N, Matsoukis IL, Aronis K, et al. Insulin resistance: an independent risk factor for lung cancer? Metabolism. 2011;60(8):1100–6.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  60. Gursoy A. Rising thyroid cancer incidence in the world might be related to insulin resistance. Med Hypotheses. 2010;74(1):35–6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  61. Higgins SP, Freemark M, Prose NS. Acanthosis nigricans: a practical approach to evaluation and management. Dermatol Online J. 2008;14(9):2.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  62. Sertznig P, Dunlop T, Seifert M, Tilgen W, Reichrath J. Cross-talk between vitamin D receptor (VDR)- and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-signaling in melanoma cells. Anticancer Res. 2009;29(9):3647–58.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  63. Salekzamani S, Neyestani TR, Alavi-Majd H, Houshiarrad A, Kalayi A, Shariatzadeh N, et al. Is vitamin D status a determining factor for metabolic syndrome? A case-control study. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2011;4:205–12.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  64. Nikooyeh B, Neyestani TR, Farvid M, Alavi-Majd H, Houshiarrad A, Kalayi A, et al. Daily consumption of vitamin D- or vitamin D  +  calcium-fortified yogurt drink improved glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(4):764–71.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  65. O’Mara BA, Byers T, Schoenfeld E. Diabetes mellitus and cancer risk: a multisite case-control study. J Chronic Dis. 1985;38(5):435–41.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  66. Chuang TY, Lewis DA, Spandau DF. Decreased incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus using insulin: a pilot study. Br J Dermatol. 2005;153(3):552–7.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  67. Wotton CJ, Yeates DG, Goldacre MJ. Cancer in patients admitted to hospital with diabetes mellitus aged 30 years and over: record linkage studies. Diabetologia. 2011;54(3):527–34.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  68. Habibi A. Epidemiological aspects of cancer in Iran. Int Surg. 1985;70(2):105–8.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  69. Noorbala MT, Kafaie P. Analysis of 15 years of skin cancer in central Iran (Yazd). Dermatol Online J. 2007;13(4):1.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  70. Neyestani TR, Hajifaraji M, Omidvar N, Eshraghian MR, Shariatzadeh N, Kalayi A, et al. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in school-age children in Tehran, 2008: a red alert. Public Health Nutr. 2011;28:1–7.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Hashemipour S, Larijani B, Adibi H, Javadi E, Sedaghat M, Pajouhi M, et al. Vitamin D deficiency and causative factors in the population of Tehran. BMC Public Health. 2004;4:38.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  72. Ardestani PM, Salek M, Keshteli AH, Nejadnik H, Amini M, Hosseini SM, et al. Vitamin D status of 6- to 7-year-old children living in Isfahan, Iran. Endokrynol Pol. 2010;61(4):377–82.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  73. Hovsepian S, Amini M, Aminorroaya A, Amini P, Iraj B. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among adult population of Isfahan City, Iran. J Health Popul Nutr. 2011;29(2):149–55.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  74. Field S, Newton-Bishop JA. Melanoma and vitamin D. Mol Oncol. 2011;5(2):197–214.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  75. Laaksi IT, Ruohola JP, Ylikomi TJ, Auvinen A, Haataja RI, Pihlajamaki HK, et al. Vitamin D fortification as public health policy: significant improvement in vitamin D status in young Finnish men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006;60(8):1035–8.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  76. Calvo MS, Whiting SJ, Barton CN. Vitamin D fortification in the United States and Canada: current status and data needs. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80(6 Suppl):1710S–6.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  77. Whiting SJ, Calvo MS. Overview of the proceedings from experimental biology 2005 symposium: optimizing vitamin D intake for populations with special needs: barriers to effective food fortification and supplementation. J Nutr. 2006;136(4):1114–6.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  78. Lehtonen-Veromaa M, Mottonen T, Leino A, Heinonen OJ, Rautava E, Viikari J. Prospective study on food fortification with vitamin D among adolescent females in Finland: minor effects. Br J Nutr. 2008;100(2):418–23.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  79. Vatanparast H, Calvo MS, Green TJ, Whiting SJ. Despite mandatory fortification of staple foods, vitamin D intakes of Canadian children and adults are inadequate. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010;121(1–2):301–3.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tirang R. Neyestani .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Neyestani, T.R. (2013). Vitamin D and Skin Cancer: Meet Sunshine Halfway. In: Watson, R., Zibadi, S. (eds) Bioactive Dietary Factors and Plant Extracts in Dermatology. Nutrition and Health. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-62703-167-7_23

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-62703-167-7_23

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Humana Press, Totowa, NJ

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-62703-166-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-62703-167-7

  • eBook Packages: MedicineMedicine (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics