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Research & Development In Brief

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Vitamin D benefits cancer patients: A study in the British Journal of Cancer concluded that higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels in 1,017 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer are associated with a significant reduction in colorectal cancer-specific and overall mortality. Published online Aug. 18, the study conducted by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston assessed the amount of vitamin D in patients' blood at the time of diagnosis and concluded patients with higher vitamin D scores were 50 percent less likely to die from the disease than those with lower scores. An earlier study found a link between high vitamin D levels and decreased risk of developing colon cancer, and a report published in the August 2007 issue of Nutrition Review stated that universal intake of 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D3 would lower North American colon cancer incidence by about 50 percent (1"The Tan Sheet" Sept. 10, 2007). Separately, a cohort study published in the Sept. 21 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology found melanoma patients with higher levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 were less likely to suffer a relapse and death than those with lower levels. Conducted by a research team led by Julia Newton-Bishop, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, England, the study also found reoccurring tumors were thinner in patients with higher levels of the vitamin. The study, which confirmed findings of an earlier retrospective study, followed 872 patients over a period of 4.7 years
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