Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Vitamin D May Affect Breast Cancer

Lower Levels of Vitamin D Linked to Advanced Breast Cancer

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 17, 2006 -- Vitamin D may affect the progression of breast cancer, according to a small new study.

British researchers found that women with early-stage breastcancercancer had much higher levels of vitamin D in their blood than women with more advanced breast cancer.

Vitamin D levels have already been shown to be lower in women with breast cancer compared with healthy women, and researchers say these new results suggest that vitamin D may play a role in promoting the progression of the disease.

Vitamin D is produced within the body in response to sunlight exposure. It is also found in eggs, liver, and fortified dairy products.

Vitamin D-Breast Cancer Link

In the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, researchers compared blood levels of vitamin D in 75 women with advanced breast cancer and 204 women with early-stage breast cancer.

They found that women with early-stage breast cancer had much higher levels of vitamin D compared with women with advanced breast cancer.

Researcher Carlo Palmieri of Cancer Research UK Laboratories and colleagues say vitamin D boosts the activity of certain key genes and curbs activity in others. For example, laboratory tests shave shown that vitamin D treatment can speed cell death while stopping cancer cells from multiplying.

The researchers say it is not known whether the lower levels of vitamin D among those with advanced breast cancer are a cause or result of the advanced cancer itself. But their findings support the hypothesis that low levels of vitamin D promote progression to advanced breast cancer.

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow