"We show that men in upper range of the normal distribution of serum calcium subsequently have an almost three-fold increased risk for fatal prostate cancer," said Gary G. Schwartz, Ph.D., associate professor of cancer biology and of epidemiology and prevention at Wake Forest, a part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Such excess calcium can be lowered, he said.
The research appears in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Co-author Halcyon G. Skinner of the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin stressed there is "little relationship between calcium in the diet and calcium in serum. So men needn't be concerned about reducing their ordinary dietary intakes of calcium."
Schwartz and Skinner analyzed the results of 2,814 men who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-1). Measurement of the amount of calcium in the bloodstreams was determined an average of 9.9 years before prostate cancer was diagnosed.
The researchers focused on the 85 cases of prostate cancer and 25 prostate cancer deaths among the 2,814 men and divided the group into thirds, based on the serum calcium level. "Comparing men in the top third with men in the bottom third, we found a significantly increased hazard for fatal prostate cancer.
"To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine prostate cancer risk in relation to serum calcium," Schwartz and Skinner wrote. "These results support the hypothesis that high serum calcium, or a factor strongly associated with it, such as high serum parathyroid hormone, increases the risk for fatal prostate cancer."
In an interview, Schwartz said that if the relationship between serum calcium and prostate cancer "turns out to be causal, it suggests a means for potentially reducing the risk of fatal disease through medicines that reduce serum levels of calcium and/or parathyroid hormone."
He added, "Both calcium and parathyroid hormone are known to promote the growth of prostate cancer cells in the laboratory."
Skinner said, "The take-home message is that this may offer a simple means to detect men who are at increased risk of fatal prostate cancer."
Schwartz said serum calcium ordinarily is tightly regulated by parathyroid hormone, so there is little variation in an individual's serum calcium over time. "Calcium is basically the current that runs many of the functions of your body. Calcium is important for not only neuromuscular conductions, electrical conductions, but for the conduction of muscles in your heart."
Too little calcium in blood, less than 7 milligrams per deciliter, can cause uncontrolled muscular convulsions or contractions. Too much calcium, above 14 milligrams per deciliter, can cause a coma. "Your body obviously cannot afford to oscillate between convulsions and coma, so the range of serum calcium is tightly controlled."
The upper third of NHANES-1 participants had high normal calcium levels, ranging from 9.9 to 10.5 milligrams per deciliter.
"If confirmed, our study shows that calcium at the high end of normal is associated with a three-fold increased risk of fatal prostate cancer later in life," Schwartz said. But unlike well-known risk factors for prostate cancer such as age, race or family history, which cannot be altered, "a man's serum calcium levels can be."
Several drugs already used in patients with high levels of parathyroid hormone, such as patients with chronic kidney disease, could be used to reduce calcium and/or parathyroid hormone in the blood, he said.
Measurements of serum calcium are routinely collected and are part of most medical visits. Thus, a physician can readily determine whether a man's serum calcium level is at the high end of normal.
"What is particularly exciting – if this study is replicated, and attempts to do so are already in progress – is that it suggests that a man may reduce his risk of fatal prostate cancer by lowering serum levels of calcium and/or parathyroid hormone," he said.
Jessica Guenzel | EurekAlert!
Flavins keep a handy helper in their pocket
25.04.2018 | University of Freiburg
Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Information Technology