Serum calcium levels and prostate cancer risk

In yet another example of the “maybe or maybe not” world of what helps to trigger increased risk for prostate cancer, we can now place serum calcium levels. Some recent studies (e.g., Skinner and Schwartz) have suggested an association between high levels of serum calcium and a high risk of prostate cancer death. Now an analysis of historical specimens from a large Swedish database suggests that there is no reason to believe that there is any association between serum calcium and prostate cancer risk.

Halthur et al. carried out a large  study of the association between pre-diagnostic serum levels of calcium and the risk of prostate cancer by examining the incidence of prostate cancer in relation to pre-diagnostic serum calcium levels in a prospective cohort study of 22,391 healthy Swedish men, among whom 1,539 incident cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed during 30 years of follow-up until December 2006. The patients’ serum calcium levels were all measured at baseline.

The authors report the following results:

  • There was no evidence of an association between pre-diagnostic serum calcium and risk of prostate cancer.
  • There was a moderately significant negative association between pre-diagnostic serum calcium levels and prostate cancer risk in men < 45 years of age with a body mass index > 25 at baseline.

The authors conclude that, based on their data, there is no support for the hypothesis that high serum calcium levels are a risk factor for prostate cancer.

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