Vitamin D may support the survival of breast cancer patients

March 31, 2014

According to a new US review higher blood vitamin D concentrations seems to be associated with a lower mortality risk of breast cancer patients.

The meta-analysis included the results of five studies which measured the serum vitamin D concentrations of a total of 4,443 breast cancer patients at the time of diagnosis as well as during an average of nine-years follow up and documented breast cancer related death cases (1). The analysis showed that higher serum concentrations of vitamin D were associated with lower death case rates after diagnosis of breast cancer. Specifically, patients with the highest vitamin D levels (average level of 30 ng/ml) had approximately half the death rate from breast cancer as those in the lowest (average level of 17 ng/ml).

The researchers concluded that the application of vitamin D can be added to the breast cancer patient’s standard therapy. There would be no compelling reason to wait for further studies to incorporate vitamin D supplements into standard care regimens since a safe dose of vitamin D needed to achieve high serum levels above 30 nanograms per milliliter has already been established. The scientists added that vitamin D metabolites are thought to increase the communication between cells by switching on a protein that blocks aggressive cell division. As long as vitamin D receptors are present, tumor growth is prevented and kept from expanding its blood supply (2). Vitamin D receptors are not lost until a tumor is very advanced. This may be the reason for better survival in patients whose vitamin D blood levels are high. Previous studies indicated that low vitamin D levels seem to be linked to a high risk of premenopausal breast cancer (3).


  1. Mohr S. B. et al. Meta-analysis of Vitamin D Sufficiency for Improving Survival of Patients with Breast Cancer. Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(3):1163–1166.
  2. Salomón D. G. et al. Vitamin D receptor expression is associated with improved overall survival in human glioblastoma multiforme. J Neurooncol. Published online March 2014.
  3. Bauer S. R. et al. Plasma vitamin D levels, menopause, and risk of breast cancer: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Medicine (Baltimore). 2013; 92(3):123–131.