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Colon cancer patients with high vitamin D live 1 year longer – June 2015

High vitamin D levels increase survival rates in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer

Cancer, Volume 121, Issue 13, page 2105, July 1, 2015
Study participants with high levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream prior to being treated with chemotherapy and targeted drugs survived longer, on average, than patients with lower levels of the vitamin, according to a study by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.

The study was presented at the 2015 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held in San Francisco, California, from January 15 to 17, 2015. Researchers analyzed data from more than 1000 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who enrolled in a phase 3 clinical trial of chemotherapy plus biologic therapies.

Patients with the highest levels of vitamin D survived for a median of 32.6 months compared with 24.5 months for those with the lowest levels. The authors say their work adds support to the potential role of vitamin D in inhibiting cancer.

Lead author Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, says the study is the largest to date to examine the role of vitamin D in colorectal cancer. She and her colleagues did not assess whether there was a biological cause-and-effect relationship between the vitamin and the disease, and she adds that it is too early to recommend vitamin D as a treatment. The researchers are conducting further studies in that area.

The study measured blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, a substance produced in the liver from vitamin D, in 1043 patients when they enrolled in a phase 3 trial of 3 different drug combinations for newly diagnosed, advanced colorectal cancer. Vitamin D levels in the patients ranged from an average of 8 ng/mL in the lowest group to an average of 27.5 ng/mL in the highest group. The average level was 17.2 ng/mL.

On average, patients with the highest vitamin D levels survived 33% longer than those with the lowest levels. Furthermore, higher vitamin D levels were associated with a longer time to disease progression (12.2 months versus 10.1 months). Dr. Ng says she and her colleagues controlled for other healthy lifestyle factors that are associated with higher vitamin D levels including diet, obesity, and physical activity levels.

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The Meta-analysis of many studies of COLON Cancer and Vitamin D are listed here:

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