Solar radiation, vitamin D and survival rate of colon cancer in Norway

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2005 Mar 1;78(3):189-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2004.11.004.


Solar radiation contributes significantly to the status of serum calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D3, 25-(OH)D3) in humans, even at the high latitudes of northern Norway. Thus, in late summer the serum concentration of calcidiol is roughly 50% larger than that in late winter, when the solar radiation in Norway contains too little ultraviolet radiation to induce any synthesis of vitamin D3 in human skin. This seems to influence the prognosis of colon cancer. We here report that the survival rate of colon cancer in men and women, assessed 18 months after diagnosis, is dependent on the season of diagnosis. A high serum concentration of calcidiol at the time of diagnosis, i.e. at the start of conventional therapy, seems to give an increased survival rate. This agrees with cell and animal experiments reported in the literature, as well as with epidemiological data from some countries relating colon cancer survival with latitude and vitamin D3 synthesis in skin. One possible interpretation of the present data is that, the level of calcidiol, or its derivative calcitriol (1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, 1alpha,25-(OH)2D3), may act positively in concert with conventional therapies of colon cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cholecalciferol / biosynthesis
  • Cholecalciferol / metabolism*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Norway
  • Prognosis
  • Sunlight*
  • Survival Rate


  • Cholecalciferol