Background: Vitamin D deficiency has potential roles in breast cancer etiology and progression. Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with increased toxicity from bisphosphonate therapy. The optimal dose of vitamin D supplementation is unknown, but daily sunlight exposure can generate the equivalent of a 10,000-IU oral dose of vitamin D(3). This study therefore aimed to assess the effect of this dose of vitamin D(3) in patients with bone metastases from breast cancer.
Methods: Patients with bone metastases treated with bisphosphonates were enrolled into this single-arm phase 2 study. Patients received 10,000 IU of vitamin D(3) and 1000 mg of calcium supplementation each day for 4 months. The effect of this treatment on palliation, bone resorption markers, calcium metabolism, and toxicity were evaluated at baseline and monthly thereafter.
Results: Forty patients were enrolled. No significant changes in bone resorption markers were seen. Despite no change in global pain scales, there was a significant reduction in the number of sites of pain. A small but statistically significant increase in serum calcium was seen, as was a significant decrease in serum parathyroid hormone. Treatment unmasked 2 cases of primary hyperparathyroidism, but was not associated with direct toxicity.
Conclusions: Daily doses of 10,000 IU vitamin D(3) for 4 months appear safe in patients without comorbid conditions causing hypersensitivity to vitamin D. Treatment reduced inappropriately elevated parathyroid hormone levels, presumably caused by long-term bisphosphonate use. There did not appear to be a significant palliative benefit nor any significant change in bone resorption.