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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Jul;134(2):709-17. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-2084-7. Epub 2012 May 6.

Increased prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in patients with breast cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

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D├ępartement d'Oncologie M├ędicale, CRLC Val d'Aurelle-Paul Lamarque, 208, rue des Apothicaires, 34298 Montpellier, France.


Patients with locally advanced breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy are at risk of cancer treatment-induced bone loss and consequently of increased skeletal morbidity. In addition, this situation could be worsened by the fact that only a minority of patients with breast cancer have sufficient vitamin D. A comprehensive evaluation of bone homeostasis is critical in this context. We retrospectively evaluated the serum levels of calcium, vitamin D, TRAIL, RANK ligand (RANKL), Osteoprotegerin (OPG), Bone TRAP, CrossLaps and DKK1 in 77 patients (median age: 50 years; range 25-74), with locally advanced breast cancer treated in our institute with anthracyclines-taxane neoadjuvant chemotherapy (7 cycles of 21 days/each) between March 2007 and August 2008. Serum samples were collected before the first (baseline) and the last treatment cycle. Variations and correlations between biomarker levels were evaluated. At baseline, 79.5 % of patients had vitamin D insufficiency (<30 ng/ml), increasing to 97.4 % at the end of the neoadjuvant chemotherapy (p < 0.0001). Calcium and RANKL serum concentrations were also significantly decreased, while OPG was significantly increased, resulting in lower RANKL/OPG ratio. Calcium and vitamin D, RANKL and vitamin D and RANKL and OPG levels were significantly correlated (Spearman's coefficient r = 0.2721, p = 0.0006; r = 0.1916, p = 0.002; and r = -0.179, p = 0.03, respectively). Nearly all included patients suffered from vitamin D insufficiency by the end of the neoadjuvant chemotherapy with changes in the calcium/RANKL/OPG axis that are evocative of deregulation of a functional regulatory mechanism. Further studies are needed to determine how drugs modulate this regulatory mechanism to preserve bone homeostasis in patients with breast cancer.

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