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April 23, 2010

Vitamin, calcium supplementation associated with reduced breast cancer risk

Vitamin, calcium supplementation associated with reduced breast cancer risk

The American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010 held in Washington, DC, was the site of a presentation on April 18 concerning the finding of a protective effect of vitamins and calcium against breast cancer.

Jaime Matta, PhD of the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico and his colleagues compared 268 Puerto Rican women with breast cancer to 457 healthy control subjects. DNA repair capacity (DRC), a biological process involving over 200 proteins, which, when disrupted, increases cancer risk, was measured in the white blood cells of all participants.

Women who had breast cancer tended to be older, were likelier to have a family history of the disease, were less likely to have breastfed their children and showed reduced DNA repair capacity. Participants who consumed vitamin supplements were found to have a 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who did not have a history of vitamin supplementation, and those who consumed calcium supplements had a 40 percent lower risk.

“It is not an immediate effect," Dr Matta noted. "You don’t take a vitamin today and your breast cancer risk is reduced tomorrow. However, we did see a long-term effect in terms of breast cancer reduction.”

The use of vitamin and calcium supplements was strongly associated with higher DNA repair capacity. Controlling the analysis for DNA repair capacity reduced the effect of calcium supplementation to an insignificant level, indicating that calcium likely exerts its protection against breast cancer via enhancement of DRC. “This process involves at least five separate pathways and is critical for maintaining genomic stability,” Dr Matta explained. “When the DNA is not repaired, it leads to mutation that leads to cancer.”

The protective mechanism of vitamins against breast cancer observed in this study appears to be independent of DNA repair capacity. The study's findings, if confirmed, could help reduce the risk of an all-too-common cancer that is newly diagnosed in over a million women each year.

“We’re not talking about megadoses of these vitamins and calcium supplements, so this is definitely one way to reduce risk,” Dr Matta concluded.

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Health Concern Life Extension Highlight

Breast cancer

Vitamin A and vitamin D3 inhibit breast cancer cell division and can induce cancer cells to differentiate into mature, noncancerous cells. Vitamin D3 works synergistically with tamoxifen (and melatonin) to inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation. The vitamin D3 receptor as a target for breast cancer prevention was examined. Preclinical studies demonstrated that vitamin D compounds could reduce breast cancer development in animals. Furthermore, human studies indicate that both vitamin D status and genetic variations in the vitamin D3 receptor (VDR) may affect breast cancer risk. Findings from cellular, molecular and population studies suggest that the VDR is a nutritionally modulated growth-regulatory gene that may represent a molecular target for chemoprevention of breast cancer (Welsh et al. 2003).

Daily doses of vitamin A, 350,000 to 500,000 IU were given to 100 patients with metastatic breast carcinoma treated by chemotherapy. A significant increase in the complete response was observed; however, response rates, duration of response and projected survival were only significantly increased in postmenopausal women with breast cancer (Israel et al. 1985).

Breast cancer patients may take between 4000 to 6000 IU of vitamin D3 every day. Water-soluble vitamin A can be taken in doses of 100,000-300,000 IU every day. Monthly blood tests are needed to make sure toxicity does not occur in response to these high daily doses of vitamin A and vitamin D3. After 4-6 months, the doses of vitamin D3 and vitamin A can be reduced.

Vitamin E succinate, a derivative of fat-soluble vitamin E, has been shown to inhibit tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo (Turley et al. 1997; Cameron et al. 2003). In estrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cell lines vitamin E succinate inhibited growth and induced cell death. Since vitamin E is considered the main chain breaking lipophilic antioxidant in plasma and tissue, its role as a potential chemopreventive agent and its use in the adjuvant treatment of aggressive human breast cancers appears reasonable.

April 23-24, 2010
Integrative Medicine Symposium 2010 Sponsored by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Clinical Research Building (CRB)
1120 NW 14 St, 9th Floor
Miami, FL 33136

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The mission of the Integrative Medicine Symposium is to support medical health professionals in their leadership roles for the integration of conventional and complementary medicine.

Participants will be able to:

  • Compile a set of complementary therapies or techniques relevant to practicing integrative medicine.
  • Integrate some of the knowledge presented directly into their clinical practice.
  • Appraise the vastness of complementary and integrative medicine and collect information on approaches relevant to their practice or research.
  • Explain what integrative medicine means and where it fits into the future of medicine.
  • Assess how environmental toxins relate to health issues and treatments.
  • Illustrate some of the difficulties in conducting research in integrative medicine and learn methods to resolve these difficulties.
  • Assess how clinical nutrition may be significant in practicing medicine and apply information relevant to their practice and to their patients.

Fax credit card payment to 305 243 3648, or register by phone by calling 305 243 4751. For online credit card registration, visit http://secure.med.miami.edu/IMSE/

For more information, visit http://www.wellness.med.miami.edu/x215.xml

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