Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Pancreatic Cancer Survival

Vitamin D deficiency prior to cancer treatment is associated with increased inflammation and shorter overall survival in patients with pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in the European Journal of Cancer.

A research team from Denmark assessed the relationship between pre-treatment serum vitamin D levels, inflammatory biomarkers, and overall survival (OS) in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). A total of 1,267 patients with PDAC were enrolled. Pre-treatment levels of serum vitamin D and inflammatory biomarkers (interleukin [IL]-6, YKL-40, and C-reactive protein [CRP]) were determined. Participants were grouped according to vitamin D levels: sufficient (>50 nmol/L), insufficient (25-50 nmol/L), or deficient (<25 nmol/L).

The results showed that, across all disease stages, vitamin D-deficient patients had the highest median levels of inflammatory biomarkers compared with the other groups. Patients with stage I and stage II PDAC with deficient vitamin D had a shorter median OS than those with sufficient levels: 18.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 12.1–31.5) vs. 29.7 months (95% CI, 22.3–36.1), respectively. Vitamin D-deficient patients with stage I or II disease also had a higher hazard ratio for death (1.55; 95% CI, 1.04-2.31; P=0.03) compared to the other groups. In advanced stage PDAC, however, there was no significant difference in OS between patients with or without vitamin D deficiency.

“Vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased inflammatory biomarkers in all PDAC stages. The resected stage I and II patients with sufficient vitamin D levels had a higher OS than those with a vitamin D deficiency. However, there was no correlation between vitamin D levels and survival in advanced PDAC. Future studies need to investigate vitamin D supplementation effects on survival in PDAC,” the researchers concluded.