Vitamin D3 improves melanoma survival
According to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, higher levels of Vitamin D3 are linked to less severe and less deadly forms of malignant melanoma. The findings provide more support for the idea that Vitamin D3 plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of many forms of cancer. "It is important to avoid becoming deficient in vitamin D3," said Dr. Julia A. Newton-Bishop, a dermatology professor at the University of Leeds in England and a co-author of the study. "This is especially important for melanoma patients in whom low vitamin D levels appear to be harmful."
Dr. Newton-Bishop examined the medical records of 872 patients with melanoma and tried to link their Vitamin D3 levels to the severity of their lesions and their likelihood of surviving without a relapse.
Researchers found those with higher levels of Vitamin D had less severe lesions and a lower rate of relapse. There was approximately a 20% reduction in the risk of relapse and death with a 20nmol/L (8ng/ml) increase in serum level of Vitamin D. Dr Newton-Bishop concluded, "The research suggests that low levels of Vitamin D allow the melanoma tumors to grow better and, therefore, to be more of a threat to the patient."
The authors concluded that to boost Vitamin D levels, people with melanoma should take daily supplements, the authors concluded, and consume foods that contain vitamin D, such as fatty fish and some fortified cereals.
However, the study also showed that patients rarely had levels exceeding 55nmol/L (22ng/ml). Most Vitamin D experts agree that optimal levels are greater than 125nmol/L (50ng/ml). Once again patients were shown to bordering on Vitamin D deficiency and certainly had insufficient levels. One can only hypothesize what might be seen if patients had maintained optimal Vitamin D levels.
Ref: Newton-Bishop JA, et al. Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 Levels Are Associated With Breslow Thickness at Presentation and Survival From Melanoma. J Clin Oncol. 2009 Sep 21.