News: Vitamin D deficiency linked to outcomes in early breast cancer

June 1, 2009

Women with early breast cancer who are deficient in Vitamin D have a higher risk of distant recurrences and death.

Women with early breast cancer who are deficient in vitamin D have a higher risk of distant recurrences and death, according to a study published online May 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Pamela J. Goodwin, MD, from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues examined the ability of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to predict outcomes in 512 women with early breast cancer.

During a mean follow-up of 11.6 years, the researchers observed distant recurrences in 116 women and death in 106 women. Compared with women with sufficient vitamin D levels (greater than 72 nmol/L), women deficient in vitamin D (less than 50 nmol/L) had a significantly higher risk of distant recurrences (hazard ratio, 1.94) and death (hazard ratio, 1.73). The risk was reduced after adjusting for possible confounding factors but remained significant for death (hazard ratio, 1.60) and approached significance for distant recurrences (hazard ratio, 1.71). Only 24% of women had sufficient vitamin D levels, the authors note.

Goodwin PJ, Ennis M, Pritchard KI, et al. Prognostic Effects of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels in Early Breast Cancer. J Clin Oncol. DOI:10.1200/JCO.2008.20.0725.