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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Jan;19(1):280-91. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0448.

Effects of supplemental vitamin D and calcium on oxidative DNA damage marker in normal colorectal mucosa: a randomized clinical trial.

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Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


The exact antineoplastic effects of calcium and vitamin D(3) in the human colon are unclear. Animal and in vitro studies show that these two agents reduce oxidative stress; however, these findings have never been investigated in humans. To address this, we conducted a pilot, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2 x 2 factorial clinical trial to test the effects of calcium and vitamin D(3) on a marker of oxidative DNA damage, 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG), in the normal colorectal mucosa. Patients (N = 92) with at least one pathology-confirmed colorectal adenoma were treated with 2 g/d calcium and/or 800 IU/d vitamin D(3) versus placebo over 6 months. Overall labeling and colorectal crypt distribution of 8-OH-dG in biopsies of normal-appearing rectal mucosa were detected by standardized automated immunohistochemistry and quantified by image analysis. After 6 months of treatment, 8-OH-dG labeling along the full lengths of colorectal crypts decreased by 22% (P = 0.15) and 25% (P = 0.10) in the calcium and vitamin D(3) groups, respectively, but not in the calcium plus vitamin D(3) group. The estimated treatment effects were strongest among participants with higher baseline colon crypt vitamin D receptor expression (P = 0.05). Overall, these preliminary results indicate that calcium and vitamin D(3) may decrease oxidative DNA damage in the normal human colorectal mucosa, support the hypothesis that 8-OH-dG labeling in colorectal crypts is a treatable oxidative DNA damage biomarker of risk for colorectal neoplasms, and provide support for further investigation of calcium and vitamin D(3) as chemopreventive agents against colorectal neoplasms.

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