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Vitamin D Could Reduce Endometrial Cancer Risk for Obese Women

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

A report published in Cancer Prevention Research suggests obese women might consider vitamin D supplements to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. The findings come from researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center who studied the effect of vitamn D supplementation for lowering cancer risk in mice.

According to the study authors, obesity is a strong predictor of endometrial cancer. Lead study author Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD, a Professor of Oncology explains, “Vitamin D has been shown to be helpful in a number of cancers, but for endometrial cancer, our study suggests it protects only against cancer that develops due to obesity."

Vitamin D Supplements Reduced Endometrial Cancer in Predisposed Mice

The researchers studied obese mice genetically engineered; lacking two PTEN tumor suppressor genes, to find the benefits of supplementation, making them predisposed to endometrial cancer.

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Twenty five percent of the mice given vitamin D developed endometrial cancer. In comparison, 67 percent of the obese mice not given the supplement developed the disease.

Hilakivi-Clarke says, "Until further studies are done, I think the best advice for women concerned about their risk is to take vitamin D supplements or spend a few more minutes each week in the sun. This vitamin has shown many health benefits in addition to the promise suggested by our mouse study."

Other findings from the study revealed vitamin D offered no cancer protection for normal weight mice - 60 percent developed cancer. The findings suggest that women battling obesity can lower the chances of endometrial cancer by taking vitamin D supplements.

Cancer Prevention Research: doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-10-0088