~ Vitamin D Reduces Blood Clots In Advanced Prostate Cancer Patients

At the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology held in Atlanta, Georgia, Peter Venner, MD of the Alberta Cancer Board's Cross Cancer Institute reported on June 2, 2006 that prostate cancer patients who received the active form of vitamin D experienced a reduction in thrombosis (blood clot formation). Thrombosis affects between 15 to 20 percent of cancer patients, and can become a life-threatening complication.

The discovery was a chance finding in a randomized trial of 250 advanced prostate cancer patients who received the chemotherapy drug Docetaxel along with a placebo or high-dose calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D in the body. The study sought to determine the effect of calcitriol on prostate specific antigen (PSA), a marker of prostate cancer progression, as well as its effect on chemotherapy side effects and survival. The researchers found that men who received calcitriol had fewer chemotherapy side effects, improved survival, and a reduction in venous and arterial thromboses.

While the clinical trial found results for prostate cancer patients, other studies suggest that calcitriol may be safe to use in other cancers. "This is a serendipitous outcome," Dr Venner stated. "It wasn't what we were looking for, but it offers an avenue of investigation that could result in a new class of anticoagulants, which could, in turn, significantly improve outcomes for cancer patients."

A recently activated phase III clinical trial will confirm calcitriol's antithrombotic effect.

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