Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

2014 Research Abstract

Pilot trial to evaluate the effect of vitamin D on melanocyte biomarkers

Investigator: Eric Anderson, Stanford University School of Medicine

Mentor: Jean Tang, MD, PhD

Over the past decade, there has been increasing interest in the role of vitamin D for cancer prevention. In clinical and epidemiologic studies, vitamin D has been shown to predict incidence and severity of melanoma skin cancer. Although the role of vitamin D in melanocyte differentiation and melanoma carcinogenesis has been described, a clear mechanism is yet to be established. Previous studies have suggested that oral vitamin D supplementation and increased serum vitamin D levels are associated with decreased melanoma incidence. We sought to determine the effect of oral vitamin D supplementation on gene expression within melanocytic nevi of women previously diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). A total of 24 healthy women were included in the study, half of which received 4,000 IU oral vitamin D3 daily for 8 weeks while the other half received placebo. Skin checks were performed at baseline and 8 week follow-up, and nevi were biopsied at both time points. RNA was collected from these nevi for gene expression profiling to identify activity in signaling pathways associated with vitamin D treatment. Women who received vitamin D supplementation experienced a significant increase in vitamin D levels at follow-up while women who received placebo did not. Gene expression analysis of melanocytic nevi revealed 1048 genes that were significantly differentially expressed between vitamin D-treated and placebo-treated women. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis indicated that the most significantly differentiated molecular signaling pathways appeared to be related to immune system signaling. This finding suggests that increased immune surveillance could underlie the previously described association between vitamin D supplementation and decreased melanoma incidence.

Last modified: 9/11/2015

Updated on September 11, 2015.

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