Section : Articles

Does Vitamin D have a protective role against Skin Cancers ?

Vitamin D in cutaneous carcinogenesis: part I and II

Tang JY, Fu T, Lau C, Oh DH, Bikle DD, Asgari MM.

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Nov;67(5):803.e1-12, quiz 815-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2012.05.044.  and 827-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2012.07.022.

  • Vitamin D has a protective effect against internal malignancies and it is suggested it could have an analogous role against skin cancers.
  • Is the consumption of vitamin D enough ? What does the extensive scientific literature suggest ?
  • How does vitamin D act on the epidermis ?
  • On a molecular level, potential mechanisms of action include inhibition of the hedgehog signaling pathway and upregulation of nucleotide excision repair enzymes.
  • One area of controversy: ultraviolet-light (UV) produces vitamin D in the skin but at the same time damages DNA which increases the risk of skin cancer: how can these two opposing actions be reconciled ?

For full access to the free article in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), click here for part 1 , click here for part 2

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Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland