Aggressive Breast Cancer Linked to Low Levels of Vitamin D

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posted by: Ann Pietrangelo
May 3, 2011

Breast Cancer in the News
Breast cancer patients with 25-OH vitamin D deficiencies are more likely to present with aggressive tumors and poorer prognosis than women with optimal levels of vitamin D, according to a recent study from the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Previous research has focused on vitamin D deficiencies and cancer risk, but this is one of the first to look at vitamin D and the progression of breast cancer. The study links low levels of vitamin D with poor scores on every major biological marker that assists doctors in assessing breast cancer outcome.

In a press release, lead researcher Luke J. Peppone, Ph.D., M.P.H., research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the URMC James P. Wilmot Cancer Center said:

“The magnitude of the findings was quite surprising. Based on these results, doctors should strongly consider monitoring vitamin D levels among breast cancer patients and correcting them as needed.”

The study examined prognostic factors for 155 women who had breast cancer surgery. Blood tests provided information about vitamin D status within the one year before or after surgery. Researchers collected information on other breast cancer data such as age, race, menopause status, stage of cancer at diagnosis, estrogen and progesterone status, HER2 expression, gene expression, and Oncotype Dx score. (A newer diagnostic test for early-stage breast cancer that looks at a group of 21 genes within a tumor sample.)

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.