WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UPI) -- U.S. researchers have identified an accurate biomarker for fatal
The study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, confirmed earlier findings that men who have too much calcium in their bloodstreams subsequently have an increased risk of fatal prostate cancer.
"Scientists have known for many years that most prostate cancers are slow-growing and that many men will die with, rather than of, their prostate cancer," senior author Gary G. Schwartz of said in a statement. "Many men with this diagnosis are treated unnecessarily."
The researchers found that men in the highest one-third of ionized serum calcium levels are three times more likely to die of prostate cancer than those with the least amount of ionized serum calcium.
Schwartz said the research is focused on identifying characteristics of the men who will develop the tumors before they develop. However, he cautioned that calcium in serum is little influenced by calcium in the diet. Serum calcium levels are controlled genetically and are stable over much of an individual's life, he said.
"These results do not imply that men need to quit drinking milk or avoid calcium in their diets," Schwartz added.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International