Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Too Much Calcium In Blood May Increase Risk Of Fatal Prostate Cancer

Date:
September 3, 2008
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
Men who have too much calcium in their bloodstreams may have an increased risk of fatal prostate cancer, according to a new analysis.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Too Much Calcium In Blood May Increase Risk Of Fatal Prostate Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080903073012.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2008, September 3). Too Much Calcium In Blood May Increase Risk Of Fatal Prostate Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080903073012.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Too Much Calcium In Blood May Increase Risk Of Fatal Prostate Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080903073012.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins