Serum Vitamin D Levels Explored in the Latvian Cohort of Patients with Basal Cell Carcinoma Linked to the Sonic Hedgehog and Vitamin D Binding Protein Cutaneous Tissue Indices

Jeļena Moisejenko-Goluboviča (Coresponding Author), Valērija Groma, Šimons Svirskis, Anna Ivanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultraviolet radiation is known as one of the major contributors to skin malignancies, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC), which is the most common type of skin cancer. It is a heterogeneous tumor, which presents with various types that are stratified into low- and high-risk tumors. Sunlight is important for overall health and vitamin D synthesis in the skin, whereas deviations from the optimal level of vitamin D are shown to be associated with the risk of the development of BCC. The accumulating evidence suggests the ability of vitamin D to antagonize the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling, the key tumor pathway, and play a protective role in the development of BCC. Additionally, a vitamin D binding protein (DBP) is shown to be implicated in the complex regulation of vitamin D. Here, we aimed to explore serum vitamin D in patients with different primary and recurrent BCC of the head and neck and investigate cutaneous DBP and SHH indices, confirmed immunohistochemically in these subjects. According to the results, 94.9% of the Latvian cohort of BCC patients were found to be deficient in vitamin D. No significant differences in serum vitamin D levels were found between genders, primary and recurrent tumors, and different types of BCC. Serum vitamin D was inversely associated with tumor size. Susceptible male individuals with low blood vitamin D levels were recognized at risk of developing aggressive and recurrent BCC confirmed by the use of hierarchical clustering analysis. In smaller tumors with a favorable course, such as superficial and nodular BCC, the association between high DBP and low SHH tissue expression was found, providing supportive evidence of the existence of a link between vitamin D, proteins involved in its metabolism, as exemplified by the DBP and SHH signaling pathway. The assumption of a deficiency in the protective effect of vitamin D in patients with high-risk BCCs was proposed in low DBP and high SHH tissue indices. New extensions to existing knowledge and characterization of the BCC signaling pathways and their cross-talk with vitamin D are warranted when searching for a preferential effect of vitamin D on skin cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3359
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • basal cell carcinoma
  • hierarchical clustering
  • immunohistochemistry
  • serum levels of vitamin D
  • Sonic Hedgehog
  • ultraviolet radiation
  • vitamin D binding protein
  • vitamin D deficiency

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine
  • 1.6 Biological sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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