Researchers have found another benefit of vitamin D.
Each year, 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer. A new study shows one form of the vitamin may enhance the effect of radiation treatment for breast cancer.
Investigators compared tumor growth in mice treated with radiation alone to mice exposed to both radiation and EB 1089, a derivative of vitamin D. After treatment, the tumor volume in those women treated with EB 1089 was 50-percent lower than in the group that received radiation alone.
Radiotherapy is commonly used to treat breast cancer, both before surgery to reduce tumor size and after surgery to reduce tumor recurrence. However, some remaining cells are often resistant to radiation. In addition to wiping out radio-resistant cells, researchers have modified EB 1089 so it has fewer side effects.
Lead researcher says these results are very encouraging. She adds, "We are eager to push ahead to clinical trials with breast cancer treatments in humans."
EB 1089 is now in clinical trials in Europe for the treatment of cancer, but it is not being studied with radiation therapy.