Deficiency of vitamin D, which is linked to insufficient sunlight exposure and some dietary choices, may increase one’s risk of developing bladder cancer, according to a study published in Endocrine Abstracts.1

Vitamin D deficiency has previously been associated with other forms of cancer. To determine whether such deficiency is linked to bladder cancer, researchers appraised 7 research papers evaluating the synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D and vitamin D signaling in bladder epithelial cells.

Five of the 7 studies showed an increased rate of bladder cancer among those with vitamin D deficiency.

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The researchers note, however, that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D synthesis is linked to local immune response: with increased vitamin D levels, greater amounts of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D are synthesized, leading to a greater immune response to cancer cell proliferation.

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With adequate levels of vitamin D, the authors conclude, bladder epithelial cells are more able to respond to bladder cancer growth. If this finding is verified, it may be useful in both bladder cancer treatment and prevention.


  1. Bland R, Chivu C, Jefferson K, MacDonald D, Iqbal G, Dunn J. Low vitamin D is associated with increased bladder cancer risk; a systematic review and evidence of a potential mechanism. Paper presented at: 2016 Society for Endocrinology BES conference; November 2016; Brighton, United Kingdom.