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Low vitamin D linked to high ovarian cancer death risk

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By David Liu, PHD

Thursday Aug 16, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Ovarian cancer patients are more likely to die if they suffer vitamin D deficiency, compared to those who have sufficient vitamin D, according to a new study in the Aug 4, 2012 issue of Clinical Biochemistry.

M. Walentowicz-Sadlecka conducted the study and found ovarian cancer patients who had greater than 10 ng/ml serum 25(OH)D3 were more likely to survive than those who had only less than 10 ng/mL.

The study involved 72 epithelial ovarian cancer patients aged 37 to 79 who underwent optimal cytoreductive surgery at a hospital.  Serum 25(OH)D3 or simply vitamin D was measured in each patient prior to surgery.  As controls, 65 healthy non-obese women aged 35 to 65 years were also tested for their serum  levels of 25(OH)D3.

Ovarian cancer patients had significantly lower levels of vitamin D (25(OH)D3) than those who were healthy, 12.5 ng/mL versus 22.4 ng/mL.  Serum vitamin D levels were not found associated with histological subtype, grading, FIGO stage and menopausal status.

However when the study group was divided into two subgroups and the the survival rates were analyzed, the researchers found ovarian cancer patients who had greater than 10ng/mL serum vitamin D were more likely to have a 5-year survival, compared to those who had lower than 10 ng/mL.

The researcher concluded "Low 25(OH) D3 concentration associated with lower overall survival rate might suggest for the important role of severe deficiency in more aggressive course of ovarian cancer."

The study suggests that vitamin D test should be encouraged to help physicians to come up with a special treatment for ovarian cancer patients with low vitamin D and at high risk of death from the disease.

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with more than 17 types of cancers including ovarian cancer.  
Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in 20,000 American women each year and the disease and complications of the disease and treatment kill about 14,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  So the ovarian cancer survival rate is not good.

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