Embargo: 9 pm EST on Thursday, May 15, 2008
ATTENTION: Health and science editors
Toronto researcher reveals vitamin D deficiency associated with
(Toronto, ON, May 14, 2008) – In a study released by the American Society of Clinical
Oncology, clinician-scientist Dr. Pamela Goodwin has uncovered a link between
vitamin D deficiency and poor prognosis of breast cancer.
Dr. Goodwin, a Senior Investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of
Mount Sinai Hospital, found that deficiency in vitamin D is common in breast cancer
patients and is associated with higher grade breast cancer tumours. Patients with
vitamin D deficiency also had an increased risk of recurrence and lower overall
survival rates than those patients with sufficient vitamin D levels.
“Breast cancer is still the most common cancer among Canadian women,” states Dr.
Goodwin. “This research helps us to identify a correlation between vitamin D levels in
breast cancer patients and encourages us to seek further knowledge.” Vitamin D helps
to regulate cell growth and differentiation, offsetting cancer cell aggressiveness.
The study also suggested that very high blood levels of vitamin D may increase risk of
death in women with breast cancer. This is a preliminary observation that requires
The study looked at 512 Toronto women with early stage breast cancer more than 12
years after their initial diagnosis. Women under age 50, those who were overweight
and those who consumed few grains and cereals had the lowest vitamin D levels. The
vitamin D was measured in blood samples taken during both summer and winter
Dr. Goodwin recommends that breast cancer patients avoid high doses of vitamin D
and suggests a moderate dosage, similar to that prescribed for bone health, until more
information is available. Dr. Goodwin also recommends that patients consider having
their blood levels of vitamin D checked to ensure they are in a healthy range.
“This work adds an important new link in the chain of evidence connecting proper
amount of vitamin D with overall good health,” said Dr. Larry Norton, MD, Deputy
Physician-in-Chief of Breast Cancer Programs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center and Chairman of the Executive Board of Scientific Advisors of The Breast
Cancer Research Foundation.
This research was funded by The Breast Cancer Research Foundation ® (BCRF), New
York. BCRF was founded in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder as an independent, not-for-profit
501(c)(3) organization dedicated to funding innovative clinical and translational
research. The Foundation supports scientists at top universities and academic medical
centers worldwide conducting the most advanced and promising breast cancer
research that will lead to prevention and a cure in our lifetime. For more information,
visit www.bcrfcure.org or call 1.866.FIND.A.CURE.
About the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital
The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, a University of
Toronto affiliated research centre established in 1985, is one of the world’s leading
centres in biomedical research. 32 principal investigators lead research in diabetes,
cancer biology, epidemiology, stem cell research, women’s and infants’ health,
neurobiology and systems biology. For more information on the Samuel Lunenfeld
Research Institute, please visit www.mshri.on.ca
To arrange an interview with Dr. Goodwin, please contact:
Nikki Luscombe Jodi Salem
Communications Specialist Media and Communications Specialist
Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute Mount Sinai Hospital
Of Mount Sinai Hospital Tel: 416 586-4800 x 8306
Tel: 416 586-4800 x 2046 Email: JSalem@mtsinai.on.ca