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Cancer prevalence in osteoporotic women with low serum vitamin D levels

Veldhuis, Sophie BS1; Wolbers, Floor PhD2; Brouckaert, Olivier MD1; Vermes, Istvan MD, PhD2; Franke, Henk R. MD, PhD1

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181f81ad5
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the role of vitamin D in cancer development in postmenopausal osteoporotic women.

Methods: A cross-sectional and in vitro study was carried out, with statistical analysis with odds ratios and 95% CIs presented. Human estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells (MCF-7) were studied in vitro. The apoptosis-to-proliferation (A/P) ratio was also determined.

Results: A total of 885 women were included in this study. Any kind of cancer was found in 112 (12.7%) of all women. Breast cancer was the most prevalent malignancy, representing half of the cases (n = 56, 50%). The prevalence of any kind of cancer and breast cancer in women with low 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels (25OHD; <50 nmol/L) was higher than in women with high 25OHD levels (≥50 nmol/L). The in vitro study demonstrated a statistically significant increased A/P ratio of 5.27 (95% CI, 4.054-6.493) with a high concentration of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (10 μM) after 96 hours.

Conclusions: Osteoporotic women with low serum levels of 25OHD (<50 nmol/L) have an increased prevalence of any kind of cancer and breast cancer; however, these differences are not statistically significant. 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D induced an increased A/P ratio in MCF-7 breast cancer cells in vitro.

From the 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medisch Spectrum Twente Hospital Group, Enschede, the Netherlands; and 2University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands.

Received April 2, 2010; revised and accepted July 8, 2010.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Henk R. Franke, MD, PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medisch Spectrum Twente Hospital Group, PO Box 50.000, 7500 KA Enschede, the Netherlands. E-mail:

©2011The North American Menopause Society