Personalizing lung cancer treatments

vitaminsby bradley j

Study links vitamin D to lung cancer survival
[Via EurekAlert! – Biology]

(University of Michigan Health System) Recent research suggests vitamin D may be able to stop or prevent cancer. Now, a new study finds an enzyme that plays a role in metabolizing vitamin D can predict lung cancer survival.


Low levels of vitamin D are found in people with lung tumors. Giving these patients vitamin D could be able to stop or prevent the cancer.

However, as with many things, it is not that easy.

An enzyme responsible for degrading vitamin D – CYP24A1 – can be elevated in lung cancer patients. More CYP2A1, the worse the cancer. The group with the largest amount of this enzyme, about 1/3 of the total, had only half the 5 year survival rate of those with the lowest levels.

So, knowing the levels of this enzyme would be useful in determining whether providing higher levels of vitamin D would be useful.

And  they can now look for inhibitors of this enzyme, hoping that reducing its ability to break down vitamin D would then allow them to use vitamin D as a treatment for everyone.

However, this is a complex pathway here that also involves calcium metabolism, so it may not be as simple as this but at least research has a model to examine.

Simply knowing which patients will have the best response to the therapy can make a big difference.

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