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Clinical Research

Vitamin D deficiency: a potential risk factor for cancer in obesity?

Abstract

Obesity is considered an abnormal or excessive accumulation of adipose tissue, due to a prolonged positive energy balance that arises when energy intake is greater than energy expenditure, leading to an increased risk for the individual health and for the development of metabolic chronic diseases including several different types of cancer. Vitamin D deficiency is a metabolic alteration, which is often associated with the obesity condition. Vitamin D is a liposoluble vitamin, which plays a pivotal role in calcium-phosphate metabolism but extraskeletal effects have also been described. Among these, it plays an important role also in adipocyte physiology and glucose metabolism, typically dysregulated in subjects affected by obesity. Moreover, it is now recognized that Vitamin D also influences the processes of cell proliferation, differentiation, adhesion potentially leading to carcinogenesis. Indeed, data indicate a potential link between vitamin D levels and cancer, and higher vitamin D concentrations have been associated with a lower risk of developing different kinds of tumors, including breast, colon, lymphoma, lung, and prostate cancers. Thus, this review will revise the literature regarding this issue investigating and highlighting the potential mechanism of action, which might lead to new therapeutical options.

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Fig. 1: Vitamin D deficiency and correlation with different type of cancers.

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All authors were involved in the design of this study and made substantial contributions to this paper. S.M., A.D.N., S.M., F.R., and L.B. conducted paper selection and analysis. All authors critically revised and approved the final version of the paper.

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Correspondence to Silvia Migliaccio.

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Migliaccio, S., Di Nisio, A., Magno, S. et al. Vitamin D deficiency: a potential risk factor for cancer in obesity?. Int J Obes 46, 707–717 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-01045-4

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