Vitamin D may improve survival in breast cancer patients

August 05, 2014

Vitamin D may improve survival in breast cancer patients

     Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine analyzed information from five clinical studies that included data from 4,443 breast cancer patients. The patient’s level of vitamin D was obtained at the time of diagnosis and again an average of nine-years later. They found that those with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had about twice the survival rate as those with the lowest vitamin D status. The “high-group” had average blood levels around 30 ng/ml (meaning nanograms per milliliter) while the “low-group” averaged 17 ng/ml.

“Specifically, patients in the highest quintile (the top 25% of 25-hydroxyvitamin D) had approximately half the death rate from breast cancer as those in the lowest” explain the researchers. The team noted that previous research found the average vitamin D serum level in breast cancer patients in the United States to be around 17 ng/ml.

One of the principal authors of the study, Dr Heather Hofflich states “The study has implications for including vitamin D as an adjuvant to conventional breast cancer therapy”.

Professor Cedric Garland, the studies lead researcher states “There is no compelling reason to wait for further studies to incorporate vitamin D supplements into standard care regimens since a safe dose of vitamin D needed to achieve high serum levels above 30 nanograms per milliliter has already been established”. The team concluded that high serum vitamin D is associated with lower mortality from breast cancer. Previous research suggested that low vitamin D status may be linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer in premenopausal women. The study was published recently in the journal Anticancer Research.