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Serum calcium’s role in prostate cancer

11 October 2018

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men and is a common cause of male cancer death. Global variation in mortality and findings from migration studies provide support for a role of modifiable risk in prostate carcinogenesis.

Dietary calcium intake has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer in prospective epidemiological studies. Similarly, high calcium intake has been linked to an increased risk of advanced and fatal prostate cancer. Establishing a causal role of elevated serum calcium in prostate carcinogenesis could have therapeutic implications for the prevention or treatment of prostate cancer.

The availability of germline genetic variants robustly associated with serum calcium and prostate cancer in separate and independent genomewide association studies (GWAS) can permit examination of the causal effect of increased serum calcium on prostate cancer risk using a “two-sample Mendelian randomization” framework. Given uncertainty surrounding the role of serum calcium in prostate cancer aetiology and progression, data from two GWASs were used to perform a two-sample Mendelian randomization analysis to examine the causal effect of elevated serum calcium with risk of overall and advanced prostate cancer.

Yarmolinsky J et al. (2018). Mendelian randomization does not support serum calcium in prostate cancer risk. Cancer Causes and Control. Online 10 October 2018.

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