A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) revealed that cancer patients who have a high vitamin D level at diagnosis have a higher cancer survival rate that vitamin D deficient patients. The review study examined the results of 25 separate studies that measured vitamin D levels in cancer patients at the time of diagnosis and tracked survival rates. In most of the studies, patients had their vitamin D levels tested before they underwent any treatment for cancer.
The study found a 10 nmol/L increase in vitamin D levels was tied to a 4 percent increase in survival among people with cancer. The strongest link between vitamin D levels and survival in breast cancer, lymphoma and colorectal cancer. There was less evidence of a connection in people with lung cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma, but the available data were positive.
“By reviewing studies that collectively examined vitamin D levels in 17,332 cancer patients, our analysis demonstrated that vitamin D levels are linked to better outcomes in several types of cancer,” said one of the study’s authors, Hui Wang, MD, PhD, Professor of the Institute for Nutritional Sciences at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, China. “The results suggest vitamin D may influence the prognosis for people with breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma, in particular.”
“Considering that vitamin D deficiency is a widespread issue all over the world, it is important to ensure that everyone has sufficient levels of this important nutrient,” Wang said. “Physicians need to pay close attention to vitamin D levels in people who have been diagnosed with cancer.”
Mian Li, Peizhan Chen, Jingquan Li, Ruiai Chu, Dong Xie, Hui Wang. Review:The Impacts of Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels on Cancer Patient Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2014; jc.2013-4320 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2013-4320