Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Too much calcium in blood may increase risk of fatal prostate cancer

Men who have too much calcium in their bloodstreams may have an increased risk of fatal prostate cancer, according to a new analysis from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the University of Wisconsin.

"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!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>