(HealthDay News) — Higher plasma concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with reduced risk of total cancer in a Japanese population, according to a study published online in The BMJ.

Sanjeev Budhathoki, MD, from the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, and colleagues examined the correlation between pre-diagnostic circulating vitamin D concentration and the risk of cancer. They performed a nested case-cohort study in which a total of 3301 incident cases of cancer and 4044 randomly selected subcohort participants within the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study cohort were included.

The researchers found that there was an inverse correlation for plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration with the risk of total cancer, with multivariable adjusted hazard ratios of 0.81 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.7 to 0.94), 0.75 (95% CI, 0.65 to 0.87), and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.67 to 0.91) for the second to fourth quarters vs the lowest quarter, respectively (P for trend =0.001). There was also an inverse correlation for liver cancer, with corresponding hazard ratios of 0.7 (95% CI, 0.44 to 1.13), 0.65 (95% CI, 0.40 to 1.06), and 0.45 (95% CI, 0.26 to 0.79) (P for trend=0.006). The overall hazard ratios were not substantially altered by removing cases of cancer at one specific site from total cancer cases.

“These findings support the hypothesis that vitamin D has protective effects against cancers at many sites,” the authors write.

Fujirebio Inc. played a role in measurement of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

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Budhathoki S, Hidaka A, Yamaji T, et al. Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and subsequent risk of total and site specific cancers in Japanese population: large case-cohort study within Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study cohort. BMJ 2018;360 doi: 10.1136/bmj.k671