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Dermatoendocrinol. 2010 Apr;2(2):68-76. doi: 10.4161/derm.2.2.13812.

An ecological study of cancer mortality rates in the United States with respect to solar ultraviolet-B doses, smoking, alcohol consumption and urban/rural residence.

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  • 1Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC); San Francisco, CA USA.


The Cohort Consortium Vitamin D Polling Project of Rarer Cancers (VDPP ) study failed to find a beneficial role of prediagnostic serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels on risk of seven types of rarer cancer: endometrial, esophageal, gastric, kidney, ovarian and pancreatic cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). However, ecological studies and studies of oral vitamin D intake have generally found solar ultraviolet B (UVB) and oral vitamin D inversely correlated with incidence and/or mortality rates of these cancers. To explore the discrepancy, I conducted an ecological study of cancer mortality rates for white Americans in the United States for 1950-1994 with data for 503 state economic areas in multiple linear regression analyses with respect to UVB for July, lung cancer, alcohol consumption and urban/rural residence. UVB was significantly inversely correlated with six types of cancer (not pancreatic cancer) in both periods. However, the adjusted R(2) values were much lower for cancers with lower mortality rates than those in an earlier ecological study that used state-averaged data. This finding suggests that the VDPP study may have had too few cases. Thus, the VDPP study should not be considered as providing strong evidence against the solar UVB-vitamin D-cancer hypothesis.


alcohol consumption; cancer; ecological study; smoking; ultraviolet-B; vitamin D

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