Effect of Vitamin D Deficiency on Liver Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Document Type : Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


1 Department of General Surgery, Civil Aviation General Hospital, No.1 Gaojing, Chaoyang Street, Beijing, China.

2 Key Laboratory of Endocrinology of National Health Commission, Department of Endocrinology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Science and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.


Epidemiological studies have showed that vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of liver cancers. Hence, we conducted a meta-analysis to explore the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and liver cancer risk. Methods: Cochrane Library, Medline, Web of Science, and Embase were searched up to Mar. 2020, and the references of those studies were also searched by hand. A meta-analysis of 11 studies was performed which met the inclusion criteria. Six case–control studies and five cohort studies were included. Results: A total of 11 studies (6 case–control and 5 cohort studies) with 12,895 incident cases were included in the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis showed that liver cancer risk was significantly increased for vitamin D deficiency, and the pooled RR and its 95% CIs was 2.16 (1.2, 3.88; P = 0.01). In comparative analyses between 25(OH)D levels in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma(HCC) and those in the control group individuals, the summary RR of liver cancer was -1.11 (95% CI=-1.96 to -0.25). The subgroup analysis of the different geographical region of the population showed that the risk of liver cancer in Asian subgroup, European subgroup and Egyptian subgroup increased for vitamin D deficiency (RR=1.34,95% CI 0.72 to 2.48, p <0.00001; RR=2.53,95% CI 1.62 to 3.93,p <0.0001;RR=29.5,95% CI 4.14 to 209.93, P=0.88). Conclusion: The results of this meta-analysis indicate that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of liver cancer. The 25(OH)D3 levels are lower in HCC patients than those in health controls. Maintenance of sufficient serum vitamin D levels would be beneficial for prevention of liver cancer.


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