Introduction: For both benign and malignant brain tumors, the outcome continues to remain dismal despite the progress made in the last half a century. The picture is gloomier in the pediatric age-group. As for any disease with limited survival and high morbidity, it is imperative to study the disease etiology to have meaningful interventions. Apart from genetics that cannot be modified, environmental and dietary factors play a role in oncogenesis, and these are potentially modifiable. A lesser-studied aspect is the role of micronutrients in the causation of brain tumors, especially in early childhood. We analyzed the association of vitamin D3 (Vit D3) in children with brain tumors.
Methods and materials: A prospective study of 50 children diagnosed with brain tumors in early childhood (<5 years old) was carried out. Vit D3 levels were measured in the blood samples of these patients and their mothers. A correlation was established between levels of Vit D3 and brain tumors.
Results: Around 26 children (52%) with pediatric brain tumors (PBTs) had Vit D3 deficiency. Of the 50 patients whose mothers were also analyzed, 22 (44%) mothers had Vit D3 deficiency. Interestingly, out of 26 children with Vit D3 deficiency, 17 were those whose mothers were also having hypovitaminosis D3. If the mother is deficient in Vit D3, the odds ratio for a child to be deficient in Vit D3 is 7.2
Conclusion: Large majority of children with brain tumors and their mothers were found to have a deficiency of Vit D3. Further large studies are required before any meaningful prevention strategy can be formulated.
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