Lung cancerTreatment

There have been a number of studies in which survival of those diagnosed with lung cancer was correlated with serum 25(OH)D levels, season, and vitamin D intake. Such studies strongly suggest that vitamin D can play an important role in improving prognosis of those diagnosed with lung cancer1.

For those with early stage non small cell lung cancer, the outcomes were better for higher vitamin D indices, but no effect was seen for those with advanced non small cell lung cancer.

Patients who had surgery during summer with the highest vitamin D intake had better RFS (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.15-0.74) than patients who had surgery during winter with the lowest vitamin D intake, with the 5-year RFS rates of 56% (34-78%) and 23% (4-42%), respectively. Similar associations of surgery season and vitamin D intake with overall survival were also observed2.

"Patients and Methods: Among 447 patients with early-stage NSCLC, data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for age, sex, stage, smoking, and treatment.
Results: The median follow-up time was 72 months (range, 0.2 to 141), with 161 recurrences and 234 deaths. For overall survival, the adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) was 0.74 (95% CI, 0.50 to 1.10; Ptrend = 0.07) for the highest versus lowest quartile of 25(OH)D levels. Stratified by stage, a strong association was observed among stage IB-IIB patients (AHR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.24 to 0.82; Ptrend = 0.002), but not among stage IA patients (AHR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.62 to 1.96; Ptrend = 0.53). Similar effects of 25(OH)D levels were observed among the 309 patients with dietary information (AHR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.46 to 1.17; Ptrend = 0.19). For the joint effects of 25(OH)D level and vitamin D intake, the combined high 25(OH)D levels and high vitamin D intake (by median) were associated with better survival than the combined low 25(OH)D levels and low vitamin D intake (AHR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.98; Ptrend = 0.06). Again, stronger associations were observed among stage IB-IIB than IA patients. Similar effects of 25(OH)D levels and vitamin D intake were observed for RFS3.”

Two studies in Europe found higher 1-2 year survival rates for those diagnosed with lung cancer in summer4 5. It is thought that higher serum 25(OH)D levels in summer account for the finding, which was also found for breast, colon, and prostate cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma6.

Page last edited: 18 July 2011


  1. Grant, W. B. Benefits of vitamin D in reducing the risk of cancer: Time to include vitamin D in cancer treatment?. J Soc Integr Oncol. 2010 Summer; 8 (3): 81-8.
  2. Zhou, W. Suk, R. Liu, G. Park, S. Neuberg, D. S. Wain, J. C. Lynch, T. J. Giovannucci, E. Christiani, D. C. Vitamin D is associated with improved survival in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Oct; 14 (10): 2303-9.
  3. Zhou, W. Heist, R. S. Liu, G. Asomaning, K. Neuberg, D. S. Hollis, B. W. Wain, J. C. Lynch, T. J. Giovannucci, E. Su, L. Christiani, D. C. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels predict survival in early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer patients. J Clin Oncol. 2007 Feb 10; 25 (5): 479-85.
  4. Lim, H. S. Roychoudhuri, R. Peto, J. Schwartz, G. Baade, P. Moller, H. Cancer survival is dependent on season of diagnosis and sunlight exposure. Int J Cancer. 2006; 1191530-36.
  5. Porojnicu, A. C. Robsahm, T. E. Dahlback, A. Berg, J. P. Christiani, D. Bruland, O. S. Moan, J. Seasonal and geographical variations in lung cancer prognosis in Norway. Does Vitamin D from the sun play a role?. Lung Cancer. 2007 Mar; 55 (3): 263-70.
  6. Porojnicu, A. Robsahm, T. E. Berg, J. P. Moan, J. Season of diagnosis is a predictor of cancer survival. Sun-induced vitamin D may be involved: a possible role of sun-induced Vitamin D. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar; 103 (3-5): 675-8.