Lower exposure to UVB light may increase colorectal cancer risk 較少暴露於 UVB 光可能會增加結直腸癌風險

News Release 

BMC (BioMed Central)

Inadequate exposure to UVB light from the sun may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, particularly in older age groups, according to a study using data on 186 countries, published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego, USA investigated possible associations between global levels of UVB light in 2017 and rates of colorectal cancer for different countries and age groups in 2018.

The authors found that lower UVB exposure was significantly correlated with higher rates of colorectal cancer across all age groups from 0 to over 75 years in people living in the 186 countries included in the study. The association between lower UVB and risk of colorectal cancer remained significant for those aged above 45 after other factors, such as skin pigmentation, life expectancy and smoking were taken into consideration. Data on these factors were available for 148 countries.

The authors suggest that lower UVB exposure may reduce levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has previously been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Future research could look directly at the potential benefits on colorectal cancer of correcting vitamin D deficiencies, especially in older age groups, according to the authors.

Raphael Cuomo, co-author of the study said: “Differences in UVB light accounted for a large amount of the variation we saw in colorectal cancer rates, especially for people over age 45. Although this is still preliminary evidence, it may be that older individuals, in particular, may reduce their risk of colorectal cancer by correcting deficiencies in vitamin D.”

The authors used UVB estimates obtained by the NASA EOS Aura spacecraft in April 2017 and data on colorectal cancer rates in 2018 for 186 countries from the Global Cancer (GLOBOCAN) database. They also collected data for 148 countries on skin pigmentation, life expectancy, smoking, stratospheric ozone (a naturally-occurring gas that filters the sun’s radiation) and other factors which may influence health and UVB exposure from previous literature and databases. Countries with lower UVB included Norway, Denmark and Canada, while countries with higher UVB included United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Nigeria, and India.

The authors caution that other factors may affect UVB exposure and vitamin D levels, such as vitamin D supplements, clothing and air pollution, which were not included in the study. They also caution that the observational nature of the study does not allow for conclusions about cause and effect and more work is needed to understand the relationship between UVB and vitamin D with colorectal cancer in more detail.

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Notes to editor:

1. Could age increase the strength of inverse association between ultraviolet B exposure and colorectal cancer? BMC Public Health 2021 DOI: 10.1186/s12889-021-11089-w

For an embargoed copy of the research article please contact Tara Eadie.

After the embargo lifts, the article will be available here: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-021-11089-w

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BMC’s open access policy.

2. BMC Public Health is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on the epidemiology of disease and the understanding of all aspects of public health. The journal has a special focus on the social determinants of health, the environmental, behavioral, and occupational correlates of health and disease, and the impact of health policies, practices and interventions on the community.

3. A pioneer of open access publishing, BMC has an evolving portfolio of high quality peer-reviewed journals including broad interest titles such as BMC Biology and BMC Medicine, specialist journals such as Malaria Journal and Microbiome, and the BMC series. At BMC, research is always in progress. We are committed to continual innovation to better support the needs of our communities, ensuring the integrity of the research we publish, and championing the benefits of open research. BMC is part of Springer Nature, giving us greater opportunities to help authors connect and advance discoveries across the world.

News Release 

Colorectal cancer risk may increase with lower exposure to UVB light

University of California – San Diego

Research News

University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers have identified a possible link between inadequate exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) light from the sun and an increased risk of colorectal cancer, especially as people age.

Reporting in the journal BMC Public Health, researchers investigated global associations between levels of UVB light — one of several types of ultraviolet light that reach the Earth’s surface — in 2017 and rates of colorectal cancer across several age groups in 186 countries in 2018.

Lower UVB exposure was significantly correlated with higher rates of colorectal cancer across all age groups. After other factors, such as skin pigmentation, life expectancy and smoking were considered, the association between lower UVB and risk of colorectal cancer remained significant for people aged 45 and older.

“Differences in UVB light accounted for a large amount of the variation we saw in colorectal cancer rates, especially for people over age 45. Although this is still preliminary evidence, it may be that older individuals, in particular, may reduce their risk of colorectal cancer by correcting deficiencies in vitamin D,” said Raphael Cuomo, PhD, assistant professor of anesthesiology at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Lower UVB exposure may reduce levels of vitamin D, wrote the authors. Vitamin D deficiency has previously been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. The authors suggested that future research could look directly at the potential benefits of correcting vitamin D deficiencies to reduce colorectal cancer risk, especially in older age groups.

With improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment, there are more than 1.5 million colorectal cancer survivors living in the United States. Still, an estimated 52,900 people will die this year from the disease, making it the second deadliest cancer among men and women in the U.S. An estimated 149,500 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2021.

For the study, researchers used UVB estimates obtained by the NASA EOS Aura spacecraft in April 2017 and data on colorectal cancer rates in 2018 for 186 countries from the World Health Organization’s Global Cancer (GLOBOCAN) database. They also collected data for 148 countries on skin pigmentation, life expectancy, smoking, stratospheric ozone (a naturally occurring gas that filters solar radiation) and other factors that might influence health and UVB exposure, derived from previous literature and databases. Countries with lower UVB included Norway, Denmark and Canada; countries with higher UVB included United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Nigeria and India.

The authors caution that other factors may affect UVB exposure and vitamin D levels, such as vitamin D supplements, clothing and air pollution, which were not included in the study. They also caution that the observational nature of the study does not allow for conclusions about cause and effect and that more work is needed to more fully understand the relationship between UVB, vitamin D and colorectal cancer.

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Co-authors include: Vidya L. Purushothaman, Cedric F. Garland and Timothy K. Mackey, all at UC San Diego.

Disclosures: Mackey is a senior editorial board member of BMC Public Health and is a founder, officer and employee of the startup company S-3 Research LLC, which is funded and currently supported by the National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Drug Abuse through a Small Business Innovation and Research contract for opioid-related social media research and technology commercialization.

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