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An interesting and important article was published in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Oncology about a study of vitamin D levels in breast cancer patients. This is an important topic because vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased breast cancer risk and decreased breast cancer survival.
At the onset of this trial, 74% of premenopausal women with breast cancer were vitamin D deficient (median,17 ng/mL). Vitamin D deficiency was slightly less common in white women (66%) compared with black (80%) and Hispanic (84%) women. After vitamin D supplementation for 1 year, less than 15% of white and Hispanic women, and no black women, achieved sufficient levels. Vitamin D levels were not altered by chemotherapy or bisphosphonate use.
The authors of the study concluded that vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in women with breast cancer and that the current recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D is too low.
For those of you who want all the details about Vitamin D, here is a one hour lecture by an expert in the field. Dr Michael Holick, MD, PhD is Director of the Vitamin D Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at the Boston University School of Medicine.
High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency Despite Supplementation in Premenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Undergoing Adjuvant Chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol. 2009 May 1;27(13):2151-2156, KD Crew, E Shane, S Cremers, DJ McMahon, D Irani, DL Hershman