Breast Cancer Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency
Breast cancer is more common in women with low vitamin D levels, new research suggests.
Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center examined vitamin D levels in 155 breast cancer patients in the months before or after they had surgery to treat their disease.
Low levels of vitamin D were found to be highly indicative of the presence of biological markers typically associated with more aggressive tumors.
Women in the study that had triple-negative tumors, or tumors that do not respond to hormone treatments, were almost three times more likely to have low levels of vitamin D than women with other breast cancers.
"We consistently saw lower vitamin D levels in breast cancer patients with poor prognostic markers," study researcher Luke Peppone, PhD, told WebMD.
African-American women and premenopausal women were more likely to have suboptimal vitamin D levels than older, white women.
American Cancer Society Deputy Chief Medical Officer Len Lechintenfeld, MD, told WebMD:
"The vitamin D research as a whole is certainly intriguing, but we have learned many times before that what appears intriguing doesn't always hold up when properly studied."
Breast cancer specialist Sharon M. Rosenbaum Smith, MD, of St. Luke's Roosevelt Medical Center in New York, agrees that the new study is deserving of a closer look.
"We are seeing study after study suggesting a link between vitamin D and breast cancer," she told WebMD. "But what that exact link is has yet to be determined."