Navigation Links
Insufficient vitamin D levels in CLL patients linked to cancer progression and death

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Researchers at Mayo Clinic ( have found a significant difference in cancer progression and death in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients who had sufficient vitamin D ( levels in their blood compared to those who didn't.

VIDEO ALERT: Additional audio and video resources, including excerpts from an interview with Dr. Tait Shanafelt, are available on the Mayo Clinic News Blog (

In the Mayo Clinic study, published online in the journal Blood (, the researchers found that patients with insufficient levels of vitamin D when their leukemia was diagnosed progressed much faster and were about twice as likely to die as were patients with adequate levels of vitamin D.

They also found solid trends: increasing vitamin D levels across patients matched longer survival times and decreasing levels matched shortening intervals between diagnosis and cancer progression. The association also remained after controlling for other prognostic factors associated with leukemia progression.

The finding is significant in a number of ways. For the first time, it potentially offers patients with this typically slower growing form of leukemia a way to slow progression, says the study's lead author, Tait Shanafelt, M.D., ( a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"This finding may be particularly relevant for this kind of leukemia because although we often identify it at an early stage, the standard approach is to wait until symptoms develop before treating patients with chemotherapy," Dr. Shanafelt says. "This watch and wait approach is difficult for patients because they feel there is nothing they can do to help themselves."

"It appears vitamin D levels may be a modifiable risk factor for leukemia progression. It is simple for patients to have their vitamin D levels checked by their physicians with a blood test," he says. "And if they are deficient, vitamin D supplements are widely available and have minimal side effects."

While the researchers have not yet determined if vitamin D replacement in patients with initially low levels will reverse the more rapid progression associated with insufficiency, they are planning a study to explore that hypothesis.

This research adds to the growing body of evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for development and/or progression of a number of cancers, the researchers say. Studies have suggested that low blood vitamin D levels may be associated with increased incidence of colorectal, breast and other solid cancers. Other studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels at diagnosis may be associated with poorer outcomes in colorectal, breast, melanoma and lung cancers, as well as lymphoma.

Replacing vitamin D in some patients has proven to be beneficial, the researchers say. For example, they cite a placebo-controlled clinical trial that found women who increased their vitamin D intake reduced their risk of cancer development.

Vitamin D insufficiency, in general, is widespread, Dr. Shanafelt says. "Between one-fourth and one-half of patients seen in routine clinical practice have vitamin D levels below the optimal range, and it is estimated that up to 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D insufficiency," he says.

Vitamin D is obtained from skin exposure to sunlight, from certain foods (fatty fish and eggs) and from supplements.

In this study, the research team, including physicians at the University of Iowa (, enrolled 390 CLL patients into a prospective, observational study. They tested the blood of these newly diagnosed patients for plasma concentration of 25-hydroxyl-vitamin D and found that 30 percent of these CLL patients were considered to have insufficient vitamin D levels, which is classified as a level less than 25 nanograms per milliliter.

After a median follow-up of three years, CLL patients deficient in vitamin D were 66 percent more likely to progress and require chemotherapy; deficient patients also had a two-fold increased risk of death.

To confirm these findings, they then studied a different group of 153 untreated CLL patients who had been followed for an average of 10 years. The researchers found that about 40 percent of these 153 CLL patients were vitamin D deficient at the time of their diagnosis. Patients with vitamin D deficiency were again significantly more likely to have had their leukemia progress and to have died, Dr. Shanafelt says.

"This tells us that vitamin D insufficiency may be the first potentially modifiable risk factor associated with prognosis in newly diagnosed CLL," he says.


Contact: Nicole Engler
Mayo Clinic

Related medicine news :

1. Benefit of exercise in patients with hypertension has been insufficiently investigated
2. U.S. FDA Removes Many Chinese Candies From Import Alert 99-30 Based on Insufficient Evidence, According to, LLC
3. Small soda taxes insufficient to curb consumption among children, study finds
4. Genetics May Play Role in Vitamin E Levels
5. New clinical trial explores role of vitamin D in preventing esophageal cancer
6. Vigilance Against Skin Cancer May Lead to Lack of Vitamin D
7. Vitamin D deficiency linked to lung transplant rejection
8. Can Vitamin B12 Reduce Alzheimers Risk?
9. Vitamin D-ficiency common among orthopaedic surgery
10. Using cassava to address vitamin A deficiency
11. Multivitamin use doesnt impact colon cancer outcomes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las ... headquartered in Northern California, has issued an important reminder to employers to prevent ... Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... are fully customizable inside of Final Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO ... another unique style. Final Cut Pro X users can now reveal the ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... ... TherapySites, the leading website and online marketing ... Association. This new relationship allows TherapySites to continue to extend their online ... and promotional offers. , "TCA is extremely excited about this new partnership, as ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... patient payment industry today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare ... , The two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution ... the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these ... disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... -- One of Australia,s successful biotechnology scientists, ... new biotechnology company, Noxopharm Limited [ABN 50 608 966 123] ("Noxopharm"). ... list on the ASX. Noxopharm is a clinic-ready company ... Phase 1 clinical study later this year. ... biggest problems facing cancer patients - the ability of cancers to ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... -- Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ ) ... Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ("HSR"), with respect ... Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired effective June 24, ... As previously announced on May 31, 2016, Jazz Pharmaceuticals ... which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a tender offer for ...
(Date:6/26/2016)...  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ( ) reported ... required to build a strong and stable market for ... on the OTC Markets-pink current trading platform. ... are seeing an anomaly in market trading activities that ... the Company, but shareholders and market players as well. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: