CalciumCancerVitamin D

Review: Supplemental calcium to prevent colorectal cancer

Researchers at the University of Sheffield, in the UK, reviewed the evidence for calcium in reducing the recurrence of adenomas (benign tumors) and the occurrence of colorectal cancer.

First, the details.

  • The researchers identified 3835 citations, of which 6 studies (8 papers) were included in the review.

And, the results.

  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
    • Supplemental calcium had no effect on the number of adenomas in 1 small study.
      • FAP is an inherited disorder characterized by cancer of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
  • People with a history of adenomas
    • Data from 3 studies were combined for a meta-analysis that reported a significant reduction in the risk for adenoma recurrence among those receiving calcium 1200 to 2000 mg/day.
  • Advanced adenoma
    • No effect of calcium supplementation was seen.
  • People not at increased risk for colorectal cancer
    • Meta-analysis of data from 2 studies suggested that calcium, with or without vitamin D, had no effect on risk.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Supplemental calcium was effective for the prevention of adenoma recurrence in populations with a history of adenomas, but no similar effect was apparent in populations at higher or lower risk.”

6/28/10 18:09 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.