Abstract # 188:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2007 10:45 AM-11:05 AM: Session 18 (North Main Hall C/D) Symposium


G. G. Schwartz
Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Cancer Biology and Epidemiology and Public Health, Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA
     As a graduate student of Dr. Leonard A. Rosenblum, I was privileged to receive the ASP Student Prize for work on the evolution of hairlessness in humans (1980; published in Schwartz & Rosenblum 1981; American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Vol. 55, pp. 9-12) and on thermoregulatory behavior in squirrel monkeys (1983). Via a post-doctoral training grant in epidemiology, I “crossed over” from studying the natural history of primates to studying the natural history of prostate cancer. My epidemiologic research has been influenced fundamentally by my research in primatology. In particular, we have shown that the geographic pathology of prostate cancer resembles that of adult vitamin D deficiency: U.S. mortality rates are higher in African Americans and the elderly and are inversely correlated with the availability of sunlight. We showed that vitamin D, whose principal source is exposure to sunlight, inhibits the proliferation, invasion and metastasis of prostate cancer cells. Furthermore, we proved that the prostate synthesizes the vitamin D hormone, which established vitamin D as an autocrine hormone in the prostate. The role of vitamin D in prostate cancer ranges from geography to genes. We are currently investigating these roles in preventive and therapeutic clinical trials (Schwartz GG. 2005. Vitamin D and the epidemiology of prostate cancer. Seminars in Dialysis. 18: 276-289; Schwartz, et al., 2005. Clinical Cancer Research. 11: 8680-8685).