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Effect of vitamin D supplementation on serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels, joint pain, and fatigue in women starting adjuvant letrozole treatment for breast cancer

  • Qamar J. Khan
  • Pavan S. Reddy
  • Bruce F. Kimler
  • Priyanka Sharma
  • Susan E. Baxa
  • Anne P. O’Dea
  • Jennifer R. Klemp
  • Carol J. Fabian
Clinical trial

Abstract

Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency may contribute to musculoskeletal symptoms and bone loss observed in women taking aromatase inhibitors (AIs). This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of suboptimal vitamin D levels in women initiating adjuvant letrozole for breast cancer and to determine whether supplementation with 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 weekly could reduce musculoskeletal symptoms and fatigue in women who have suboptimal vitamin D levels. Sixty women about to begin an adjuvant AI were enrolled. Baseline 25OHD levels were obtained, and women completed symptom questionnaires. They were then started on letrozole, along with standard dose calcium and vitamin D. Four weeks later, women with baseline 25OHD levels ≤40 ng/ml started additional vitamin D3 supplementation at 50,000 IU per week for 12 weeks. 25OHD levels were re-assessed at 4, 10, and 16 weeks; the questionnaires were repeated at weeks 4 and 16. At baseline, 63% of women exhibited vitamin D deficiency (<20 ng/ml) or insufficiency (20–31 ng/ml). 25OHD levels >40 ng/ml were achieved in all 42 subjects who received 12 weeks of supplementation with 50,000 IU vitamin D3 weekly, with no adverse effects. After 16 weeks of letrozole, more women with 25OHD levels >66 ng/ml (median level) reported no disability from joint pain than did women with levels <66 ng/ml (52 vs. 19%; P = 0.026). Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are prevalent in post-menopausal women initiating adjuvant AI. Vitamin D3 supplementation with 50,000 IU per week is safe, significantly increases 25OHD levels, and may reduce disability from AI-induced arthralgias.

Keywords

Breast cancer Vitamin D Letrozole Vitamin D deficiency Aromatase inhibitors Endocrine therapy Joint pain Arthralgias 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Letrozole and funding for this study were provided by Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation (East Hanover, NJ). 50,000 IU vitamin D3 weekly supplementation was provided as Maximum D3 by BTR Group, Inc. (Pittsfield, IL). However, the design, conduct, and analysis of the study were the sole responsibility of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qamar J. Khan
    • 1
  • Pavan S. Reddy
    • 2
  • Bruce F. Kimler
    • 3
  • Priyanka Sharma
    • 1
  • Susan E. Baxa
    • 1
  • Anne P. O’Dea
    • 1
  • Jennifer R. Klemp
    • 1
  • Carol J. Fabian
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Cancer Centers of KansasWichitaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA

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