Researchers from Wuhan University in China recently published findings that suggest deficient levels of vitamin D in a patient’s blood could be a clinical biomarker of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The study, “Vitamin D Deficiency as a Potential Marker of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia,” was published in the latest online edition of the journal Urology.
Biomarkers are biological markers used in the clinical environment to both predict and prevent a disease state. Examples of common biomarkers are cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and white blood cell counts.
In this study, researchers tested whether prostatic volumes and urinary flow changes were higher in patients with clinically defined vitamin D deficiency than in those without vitamin D deficiency.
To conduct this clinical investigation, the researchers enrolled 322 men from 60 to 75 years old that were examined at the university’s hospital from July 2015 to September 2015.
Every participant had several biologic characteristics and factors measured, such as body height and weight; body mass index (BMI); lean body mass; total body fat mass and trunk fat mass; blood pressure; prostate gland by use of a digital rectal exam and ultrasound; prostate volume; urinary flow; prostate symptom score (IPSS) and blood levels of vitamin D; total testosterone; parathyroid hormone (PTH); prolactin; estrogen; albumin; prostate-specific antigen (PSA); sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG); triglycerides; HDL and LDL cholesterol; and insulin.
After analyzing the findings, researchers found that 231 of the study participants had deficient levels of vitamin D. The deficiency was correlated with a significantly higher prostate volume, and a significantly lower maximum urinary flow. Other distinguishing results observed in the deficient group included higher levels of aldosterone and higher levels of prostate-specific antigen values.
The researchers concluded that the findings show a strong association between vitamin D levels that are considered deficient and the presence of BPH. This means that vitamin D levels could be a potential future clinical biomarker for the detection and prevention of BPH.
“In this study, old Chinese men with vitamin D deficiency were found to have a larger prostate, higher IPSS, and lower urinary flow value in comparison with men free of vitamin D deficiency, suggesting that the vitamin D deficiency could be implicated in the pathophysiology of BPH in Chinese old men and can be used as an independent risk factor for BPH,” the authors wrote.
Additional tests will need to be conducted before the findings result in changes in standard clinical testing protocols.