Using a mouse model of breast cancer metastasis, the researchers found that a calcium deficiency may increase the tendency of advanced breast cancer to target bone. Dietary calcium, they reason, might help prevent the spread of breast cancer to bone and serve as an adjuvant treatment during therapy.
So a fortified glass of milk might be the way to block cancerâ€™s spread.
about 70 percent of patients who develop advanced breast cancer will have secondary tumors in the bone. The spread of cancer to bones leads to cellular processes that physically break down existing bone, leading to further pain and illness. In fact, the breakdown of bone and subsequent bone re-growth forms turns bone into an environment conducive to cancer growth.
To better understand the role of bone turnover in the spread of cancer, researchers compared the effects of a low- and high-calcium diet in mice. They found that dietary calcium deficiency â€“ independent of the chemical factors that control turnover â€“ was related to a significantly higher increase in cancer cell proliferation and the total proportion of bone that had been penetrated.
These results could have implications for patients with breast cancer bone metastases or who are at high risk for developing metastatic disease.