Vitamin D enhances drug treatment in pancreatic cancer

2014 Research

Researchers have shown that vitamin D given in conjunction with gemcitabine chemotherapy in mice results in a 57% increase in survival over chemo on its own(1). 

29% of the mice were considered ‘long-term survivors. Pancreatic cancer cells were shown to have vitamin D receptors. Human clinical trials are now underway. Dr Ronald Evans, who directs the Salk Gene Expression Laboratory in La Jolla, California lead the research covered in the journal Cell.

"These (PCS) cells basically recognize the cancer as a big wound and they surround the tumor, become activated, and start excreting a lot of extracellular matrix that acts like cement," explained study researcher Michael Downes, PhD, of the Salk Institute.

"This is one reason pancreatic cancer is so hard to treat. It is difficult to get chemotherapy drugs to the tumor because this ’wound’ has been walled up by these cells," he told MedPage 'Today'. "The vitamin D analog tears down this wall to some extent so the chemotherapy drugs can get in."

“For pancreatic cancer, the five-year survival rate is the lowest of all cancers,” says Evans, holder of Salk’s March of Dimes Chair and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “Part of the problem is that the science of pancreatic cancer and its renowned resistance to therapy has not been understood and that’s why the work that we’re doing is so important.”

Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive added, "We have been telling you about the benefits of vitamin D for years. Like Boston Medical School, we believe everybody with cancer should take 5,000 IUs a day, if they cannot go in the sun for 4 hours. Double if they are taking drugs.

But, yet again, here is research (albeit not in humans) that shows some supplements are capable of IMPROVING orthodox medicine. Too many oncologists tell their patients to refrain from taking any supplements while on Chemotherapy - and they are quite wrong to do this.

Go to: Pancreatic canceroverview - symptoms, causes and treatment alternatives


1. Vitamin D Receptor-Mediated Stromal Reprogramming Suppresses Pancreatitis and Enhances Pancreatic Cancer Therapy (

2014 Research
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