Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Low levels of Vitamin D linked with poorer outcome in breast cancer

One of the most important abstracts at the forthcoming ASCO meeting suggests that vitamin D deficiency at the time of diagnosis is associated with a worse outcome in breast cancer. The results were reported in an analysis of 512 women treated in Toronto, Ontario.

Many of the women had low levels of vitamin D at the time they were diagnosed with breast cancer; some 37.5% had levels classified as "deficient," and only 24% had levels that were "sufficient". Is this a random or relevant finding?

After a median follow-up of 11.6 years, it was found that compared with women who had normal levels of vitamin D at diagnosis, the women with vitamin D deficiency were 94% more likely to experience metastasis and 73% more likely to die.

It is surprising to find vitamin D deficiency is so common in women diagnosed with breast cancer and that very low vitamin D levels adversely affect patient outcome. Although the data show an association, it is impossible say it is causal until the results are replicated.


ASCO 2008 Annual Meeting

1 comment:

diane stafford said...

Although it is not suggested as a causal factor, should women be taking vitamin D supplements? Or just getting out more in the sunshine?