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Oral carcinogenesis, Nutrition, Clinical outcomes, Evidence-based medicine, Evidence-based dentistry


Introduction: Oral cancer is a serious health problem with an increasing incidence worldwide. Researchers have studied the potential anti-cancerous action of vitamin D and its association with several cancers including oral cancer. The purpose of this scoping review is to synthesize the existing literature on the role of vitamin D on oral cancer. Methods: A scoping review of the literature was conducted using the framework developed by Arkey and O’Malley and the PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Nine databases were searched for peer-reviewed human studies published in English that either investigated the association of vitamin D with, or its impact on either the prevention or treatment of oral cancer. The authors then extracted data using a predefined form to summarize information about article type, study design, participant characteristics, interventions, and outcomes. Results: Fifteen articles met the review criteria. Among the 15 studies, 11 were case–control, 3 were cohort studies, and 1 was a clinical trial. In four studies, the evidence supported a preventive action of vitamin D against oral cancer and a reduction in the negative side effects associated with chemo- and radiotherapy. Several studies that focused on genetic polymorphisms and the expression of the 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 receptor (VDR) suggested significant associations with vitamin D and increased oral cancer risk and worse survival rates. In contrast, two studies did not reveal a strong association between vitamin D and oral cancer. Conclusions: The current evidence suggests an association between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of oral cancer. VDR gene polymorphisms might also be a part of future preventive and therapeutic strategies against oral cancer. Carefully designed studies are required to explore and define what role, if any, vitamin D might play in the prevention and treatment of oral cancer.


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