gms | German Medical Science

MAINZ//2011: 56. GMDS-Jahrestagung und 6. DGEpi-Jahrestagung

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e. V.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Epidemiologie e. V.

26. - 29.09.2011 in Mainz

Importance of lifestyle and environmental factors on cancer risk and prognosis: Investigating the role of Vitamin D3 and selenium in large epidemiological cohort studies

Meeting Abstract

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  • Ulrike Haug - Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Heidelberg

Mainz//2011. 56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie (gmds), 6. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Epidemiologie (DGEpi). Mainz, 26.-29.09.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11gmds612

doi: 10.3205/11gmds612, urn:nbn:de:0183-11gmds6126

Published: September 20, 2011

© 2011 Haug.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background & aims: Lifestyle and environmental factors are supposed to play an important role for cancer risk and prognosis. Two potentially influential factors deserve special consideration, namely an inadequate supply of selenium being associated with low soil content of this trace element, and Vitamin D3 deficiency being associated with insufficient dietary supply and insufficient sun exposure. The aim of the project is to investigate the importance of selenium and Vitamin D3 deficiency and of genetic variants in genes related to vitamin D regarding cancer risk and prognosis in large cohort studies.

Current status of the project and first results: Vitamin D3: Serum levels of Vitamin D3 (25(OH)D) were measured in the ESTHER I study, a population-based cohort study comprising 9953 older adults. While the descriptive statistical analysis of Vitamin D levels among male participants is still ongoing, we found that approximately 80% of female participants had 25(OH)D levels <50nmol/L and 38% had 25(OH)D levels <25nmol/L. While season was the most important determinant of vitamin D levels, women ≥70yr, obese women and currently smoking women had approximately two-fold odds of having low levels of 25(OH)D as compared to women < 55yr, normal-weight women, or never/formerly smoking women, respectively, independently of season of blood sampling. Participants of the ESTHER I study with genetic variants in the vitamin D binding protein (carrying two copies of the rare allele of SNPs rs4588, rs2282679, or rs1155563) had two-fold odds of having low levels of 25(OH)D compared to those carrying two copies of the common allele. To analyze the associations between Vitamin D recector (VDR) polymorphisms and CRC risk, 459 patients diagnosed with CRC from the ESTHER II study and 138 from the VERDI study, both population-based cohorts of cancer patients, were selected and compared to controls from ESHTER I study, matched to cases by age and gender. No statistically significant associations with CRC risk were found for BsmI, FokI, Cdx2, TaqI, and VDR-5132 polymorphisms.

Selenium: The analyses of serum selenoprotein P levels in the 9953 participants of the ESTHER I study are still ongoing.

Linkage to cancer registry: The linkage of the above-mentioned cohort studies (ESTHER I, ESTHER II, VERDI) to the cancer registry data of the Saarland has been completed and will allow an efficient long-term follow-up of the study population with respect to cancer incidence and mortality.

Next steps: The next steps in the data analysis will focus on the description of selenium levels in the ESTHER I study, on the association between serum Vitamin D3 and selenium levels and cancer risk in the ESTHER I study (incidence data available by 31.12.2009) and on the association between genetic variants in Vitamin-D-related genes on cancer prognosis in the ESTHER II and VERDI study.