Vitamin D Supplementation Helps Avert Melanoma Relapse

Researchers recommend melanoma patients strive to maintain normal serum vitamin D levels
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D supplementation may help prevent melanoma relapse and increase the chance that tumors will be thinner if relapse does occur, according to research published online Sept. 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Julia A. Newton-Bishop, M.D., of St. James's University Hospital in Leeds, U.K., and colleagues initially conducted a retrospective study of patients with melanoma, and analyzed 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 intake for relapsers and non-relapsers. Following that study, a prospective cohort study was conducted in which 872 melanoma patients registered in the Leeds Melanoma Cohort were followed up for a median 4.7 years. The researchers analyzed self-reported vitamin D intake, examined blood tests, and correlated the data with melanoma relapse.

In the retrospective study, the researchers found that 47 percent of non-relapsers and 38 percent of relapsers reported regular use of some supplementation (vitamin D supplement, multivitamin, fish oil). Forty-two percent of the non-relapsers and 31 percent of the relapsers reported regularly taking vitamin D supplements. In the prospective study, higher vitamin D levels were associated with lower Breslow thickness at diagnosis and reduced risk of relapse and death. The hazard ratio for relapse-free survival was 0.79 for a 20 nmol/L increase in vitamin D serum level.

"Results from the retrospective study were consistent with a role for vitamin D in melanoma outcome. The cohort study tests this hypothesis, providing evidence that higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels, at diagnosis, are associated with both thinner tumors and better survival from melanoma, independent of Breslow thickness," the authors write.

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