In a nutshell
This study looked at the impact of vitamin D levels in the blood on outcomes in patients with breast cancer after chemotherapy. The study found that patients with a vitamin D deficiency had worse outcomes, and in particular, the patients were more likely to have tumor cells left in the body after treatment.
The role of vitamin D in cancer has been looked at closely in recent years. Due to its role in cell growth, it may have an impact on cancer cells. Vitamin D deficiency is common in the general population. It is possible that vitamin D deficiency may have a negative impact on a patient’s response to breast cancer treatment. The mark of a successful treatment is having no tumor cells left in the body after treatment, which is called a pathologic complete response (pCR).
Methods & findings
This study consisted of 327 patients with breast cancer. Before treatment, patients vitamin D levels were determined through blood tests. Patients all received chemotherapy of varying types followed by surgery.
Overall 42% of patients were determined as being vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with not achieving a pathologic complete response. 74% of patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels achieved pCR. Only 27% of patients who were deficient in vitamin D achieved pCR. However, vitamin D deficiency was not seen to be associated with survival outcomes.
The bottom line
The study concluded that vitamin D deficiency is associated with patient being unable to achieve a complete response to treatment in breast cancer.
The fine print
This study is not large, with only 327 patients. If the study was larger the authors may have found an association with survival. More research needs to be done.
It may be worth checking your vitamin D levels and taking a supplement if they are found to be low. Discuss this with your oncologist.
Published By :
Jul 30, 2018
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