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Relevance of Vitamin D in Bone and Muscle Health of Cancer Patients - Jan 2013

Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry Volume 13 Issue 1 pp.58-64 (7)
Author: Heike Bischoff-Ferrari

Cancer patients with advanced disease frequently feel weak and fatigued, and have an increased risk of fracture. At the same time several reports describe the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in these patients. This review will summarize the impact of vitamin D deficiency on muscle weakness and fracture risk. While larger clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation are lacking in cancer patients, the evidence from clinical trials among older adults of the general population support a significant benefit of vitamin D on muscle strength, and fall and fracture reduction.

Mechanistic evidence regarding the presence of the specific vitamin D receptor in muscle tissue and muscle biopsy abnormalities observed with deficiency will be reviewed, as well as molecular and non-molecular effects of vitamin D in muscle tissue. At the clinical level, the evidence from randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation on functional improvement and fall reduction will be summarized. Finally, trial and epidemiological data will be reviewed to assess desirable serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels for optimal muscle health.

Affiliation: Centre on Aging and Mobility, University of Zurich and City Hospital Waid, Dept. of Rheumatology, University Hospital Zurich, Gloriastrasse 25, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.

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