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Vitamin D cuts LC risk by up to 70% in studies!!


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Alright, there has been a lot of talking this weekend about an old drug Tarceva that may find new use in treating lung cancer after a press release issued on Friday by OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc and Genentech.

The drug makers said a new yet small study showed the drug Tarceva effectively slowed the progression of lung cancer when given immediately after chemotherapy.

Another study published early this year but not as widely publicized suggests that taking vitamin D supplements could reduce the risk of lung cancer by 70 percent in young men and women.

The details of the drug trial will reportedly be presented at an upcoming medical conference and will be also submitted to federal regulators for approval of Tarceva for expanded use in treating lung cancer.

The drug has been Okayed by the U.S. government in 2004 to treat patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of lung cancer in the U.S in cases other treatments have failed to stop progression of the disease.

An early trial showed that patients receiving Tarceva had a median survival of 6.7 months compared to 4.7 months for those who were given a placebo.

This new study is good news that OSI and its partners badly needed. In early trials, Traceva failed to deliver much of additional benefit when used along with Avastin, a cancer drug made by Genentech.

High serum vitamin D cuts lung cancer risk in young people by 70 percent

Lung cancer is very dangerous and prognosis for the disease is very poor. Thus no one can afford to wait to develop the disease and then treat it. According to data from the U.S. government, more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed and more than 160,000 die from the disease each year.

Is there anything we can do in reality to prevent lung cancer?

We have already known that physical activity, diet high in fruits and vegetables, high in nutrients like vitamin C, E, or selenium may reduce the risk of lung cancer. High exposure to sunlight and or taking vitamin D supplements, getting enough sleep, avoiding stress and fatigue and environmental pollutants may also help.

A new study published in the Nov 2008 issue of Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. showed once again that high levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] level was linked with reduced risk of lung cancer.

For the prospective cohort study, Kilkkinen A and colleagues of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland looked at data on serum vitamin D levels and cases of lung cancer for 6,937 men and women. During a maximum follow-up of 24 years, 122 cases of lung cancer were recorded.

An association between vitamin D and lung cancer risk was observed for the highest versus lowest tertile with the odds ratio 0.72. But the researchers said the link was not statistically significant.

However, the significant association was found among women and young men and women.

For women, those who had highest levels of vitamin D in their blood were 84 percent less likely to develop lung cancer. For younger participants, those with highest levels were 66 percent less likely to have the disease compared to those with the lowest levels.

The researchers concluded that "although there was no overall association between vitamin D and lung cancer risk, women and young participants with a higher level of vitamin D were observed to have a lower lung cancer risk."

The study was not a trial, but there is a very good chance that the association is a causal relationship. Laboratory studies have already yielded evidence suggesting that vitamin D suppresses lung carcinogenesis.

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