In a new study that will be presented at the 2015 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium found that patients with metastatic colorectal cancer with higher vitamin D levels survived longer than those with lower levels.
Metastatic cancer is cancer that spreads from its original site to other parts in the body. The most common sites of cancer metastasis are the bone, liver, and lung, but it can occur in any area in the body.
A metastatic cancer shares the same name and characteristics as the primary cancer. That is, when colorectal cancer becomes metastatic and forms in the liver, for example, it is still called metastatic colorectal cancer, not liver cancer.
Recently, a research team looked at whether vitamin D levels were an indicator of survival in metastatic colorectal cancer, an area of research that has not been explored.
The researchers recruited 1,043 patients with untreated metastatic colorectal cancer who were participating in a separate randomized trial of three first-line colorectal cancer treatments.
All patients had their vitamin D levels measured and were then followed to determine their overall survival.
The researchers found that patients in the group with the highest vitamin D levels survived a median of 32.6 months compared to 24.5 months among those with the lowest vitamin D levels.
“We found that patients who had vitamin D levels at the highest category had improved survival and improved progression-free survival, compared with patients in the lowest category,” said lead author Dr. Kimmie Ng.
The researchers note that future randomized trials on vitamin D supplementation and metastatic colorectal cancer are needed and are currently underway.