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Vitamin D Linked to Outcomes in Early Breast Cancer

Deficient vitamin D levels associated with poor outcomes, study suggests

FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- 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, M.D., 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 percent of women had sufficient vitamin D levels, the authors note.

"Vitamin D deficiency may be associated with poor outcomes in breast cancer," Goodwin and colleagues conclude. "Our observations provide the first direct evidence that vitamin D may be an important host factor influencing breast cancer prognosis."

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