Vitamin D Affects Outcomes in Breast Cancer

Posted on March 8th, 2009 by

Vitamin D Affects Outcomes in Breast Cancer

Women with early breast cancer who have low blood levels of vitamin D have a worse outcome than those with adequate levels of vitamin D. These results were recently released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Vitamin D has recently gained attention for its potential implication in risks of developing some types of cancers, particularly breast cancer.

Vitamin D is synthesized in the body through exposure to sunlight and may also be obtained through diet or supplements. The protective benefits of vitamin D are not understood; however, the association between levels of vitamin D and risks for certain types of cancers continues to be evaluated.

Researchers from Toronto, Canada, recently conducted a clinical study that included 512 women who were diagnosed with early breast cancer between 1989 and 1995. These women were followed through 2006. Their blood levels of vitamin D were measured upon diagnosis.

• Less than one-quarter of women had adequate vitamin D levels upon diagnosis of breast cancer.

• Women with low levels of vitamin D had a 94% increased risk of cancer spread than those with adequate vitamin D levels.

• Women with low levels of vitamin D had a 73% increased risk of death than those with adequate vitamin D levels.

The researchers concluded that these results add to a growing body of evidence that vitamin D levels not only play a potentially important role in the risk of developing breast cancer, but may also affect breast cancer outcomes. Further studies will help researchers better understand the association between vitamin D and breast cancer.

Reference: Goodwin P, Ennis M, Pritchard K, Koo J, Hood N. Vitamin D is common at breast cancer diagnosis and is associated with a significantly higher risk of distant recurrence and death in a prospective cohort study of T1-3, N0-1, M0 BC. Early Release Proceedings from the 2008 American Society of Clinical Oncology. Abstract #511.

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