Calcium and vitamin D supplementation and loss of bone mineral density in women undergoing breast cancer therapy

Mridul Datta, Gary G. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

22 Scopus citations


An unintended consequence of breast cancer therapies is an increased risk of osteoporosis due to accelerated bone loss. We conducted a systematic review of calcium and/or vitamin D (Ca. ±. D) supplementation trials for maintaining bone mineral density (BMD) in women with breast cancer using the "before-after" data from the Ca. ±. D supplemented comparison group of trials evaluating the effect of drugs such as bisphosphonates on BMD. Whether Ca. ±. D supplements increase BMD in women undergoing breast cancer therapy has never been tested against an unsupplemented control group. However, results from 16 trials indicate that the Ca. ±. D doses tested (500-1500. mg calcium; 200-1000. IU vitamin D) were inadequate to prevent BMD loss in these women. Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of mortality in women with breast cancer. Because calcium supplements may increase cardiovascular disease risk, future trials should evaluate the safety and efficacy of Ca. ±. D supplementation in women undergoing breast cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-624
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2013



  • Bone mineral density
  • Breast cancer
  • Calcium
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology

Cite this