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Posted by on Nov 14, 2015 in Colorectal cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated whether colorectal cancer survival rates were influenced by levels of vitamin D in the body.

Some background

The rate of occurrence of colorectal cancer (CRC) varies greatly among different populations of the world. This could be due in part to variable levels of vitamin D in the body. Dietary intake of vitamin D is usually low. Most of the body’s vitamin D comes from sunlight. Factors such as geographical location, climate and lifestyle have a major influence on sunlight exposure. Vitamin D levels vary depending on these factors.

Studies have shown that higher vitamin D levels are associated with a lower risk of developing CRC. Interaction between vitamin D levels with certain genetic variants (versions of genes which differ from person to person) has also been shown to influence CRC. However, it is difficult to determine whether vitamin D levels have an effect on CRC outcomes.

Methods & findings

This study investigated the relationship between vitamin D levels and CRC survival rates. 1598 patients with stages 1-3 CRC took part. The vitamin D levels of patients were calculated after surgery to remove cancerous tissue. The patients’ gene type (of the genes associated with vitamin D interaction) was determined.  Patients were grouped according to vitamin D levels: group 1 (less than 7.25 ng/mL), group 2 (7.25-13.25 ng/mL) and group 3 (greater than 13.25 ng/mL).  Survival was monitored for up to 9.6 years.

Group 2 patients had a 14% lower chance of dying due to CRC and a 19% lower chance of death due to any cause in comparison to group 1 patients. Group 3 patients had a 32% lower chance of dying due to CRC and a 30% lower chance of death due to any cause in comparison to group 1 patients.

The effect was greatest in stage 2 patients. Stage 2 patients in group 3 had a 56% lower chance of dying due to CRC, than group 1 patients.

The protective effect of vitamin D levels was stronger in patients who were not receiving chemotherapy. Certain genetic variants were also associated with a protective effect.

The bottom line

The authors concluded that higher vitamin D levels are associated with longer survival from CRC, especially for stage 2 patients. 

The fine print

This study did not examine the use of vitamin D supplements. The impact of vitamin D supplementation in CRC patients will reveal more information on the meaning of these findings for patients.

What’s next?

Consult your doctor if you have CRC and you are concerned about your vitamin D levels. 

Published By :

Journal of clinical oncology

Date :

Jul 07, 2014

Original Title :

Plasma Vitamin D Concentration Influences Survival Outcome After a Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer.

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