Clinical & translational oncology : official publication of the Federation of Spanish Oncology Societies and of the National Cancer Institute of Mexico

Does vitamin D mediate inhibition of epithelial ovarian cancer by modulating cytokines?

PMID 25740667


Vitamin D deficiency is reported to be involved in pathogenesis of ovarian cancer. But the mechanism is yet to be explored. An imbalance between Th1 and Th2 activity play a crucial role in pathogenesis of many cancers. The purpose of the study is to find out the Th1/Th2 status by estimating TNF-α (Th1 marker) and IL-4 (Th2 marker) in ovarian cancer cases and controls and to correlate these with serum vitamin D levels. A case-control study with 50 ovarian cancer cases and 50 healthy controls was conducted. The cytokines TNF-α and IL-4 were estimated by ELISA. Serum vitamin D was measured by electro-chemiluminescence immunoassay method. Median TNF-α levels (12.2 vs 6.2xa0pg/ml; p value <0.001) were significantly higher in ovarian cancer patients and mean IL-4 levels (2.22xa0±xa00.51 vs 2.99xa0±xa00.68xa0pg/ml; p value <0.05) were significantly lower as compared to those of controls. Levels of TNF-α and IL-4 did not vary significantly with clinical staging, and histological grading. Vitamin D levels were negatively correlated with TNF-α and positively correlated with IL-4. Low vitamin D levels promotes Th1 activity increasing TNF-α levels and inhibits Th2 activity decreasing IL-4 levels in ovarian cancer. These low levels of vitamin D may induce pro-inflammatory micro ambience which might contribute to pathogenesis of ovarian cancer.