Accumulating evidence suggests that vitamin D has anticarcinogenic effects. However, it is unclear whether the nutrient is involved in the early stage of colorectal carcinogenesis. We examined the association between circulating vitamin D concentrations and colorectal adenomas in Japanese men. The study subjects comprised 656 cases of colorectal adenomas and 648 controls with normal colonoscopy among male self defense officials receiving a pre-retirement health examination between 1997 and 2004. Plasma or serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] were measured using a radioimmunoassay method. Logistic regression analysis was used to obtain odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) with adjustment for potential confounding variables. Overall, there was no measurable association between circulating 25(OH)D concentrations and colorectal adenomas. When the analysis was restricted to subjects whose blood was taken during the winter season (November-April), the prevalence odds of colorectal adenomas for the highest versus lowest quartile of 25(OH)D was statistically significantly decreased (OR = 0.58; 95% CI = 0.34-0.99). The reduction was more pronounced for the rectum (OR = 0.22) and distal colon (OR = 0.47) than for proximal colon (OR = 0.70). During the summer season (May-October), higher levels of 25(OH)D were associated with an increased odds of small, but not large, adenomas. The present study adds to evidence that high levels of circulating vitamin D measured during darker season is associated with decreased prevalence of adenomas in the distal sites of the colorectum.
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