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Vitamin D ups bowel cancer survival odds, study finds

Date:
July 9, 2014
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Bowel cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to survive the disease, a study shows. Patients with the highest levels of vitamin D have half the risk of dying compared with those with the lowest levels, the findings reveal. The study is the first to correlate total blood levels of vitamin D in bowel cancer patients after their diagnosis -- which includes that produced after exposure to sunlight and that obtained from dietary sources -- with their long term survival prospects.
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Bowel cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to survive the disease, a study shows.

Patients with the highest levels of vitamin D have half the risk of dying compared with those with the lowest levels, the findings reveal.

The study is the first to correlate total blood levels of vitamin D in bowel cancer patients after their diagnosis -- which includes that produced after exposure to sunlight and that obtained from dietary sources -- with their long term survival prospects.

The University of Edinburgh team tested blood samples from almost 1600 patients after surgery for bowel cancer.

The greatest benefit of vitamin D was seen in patients with stage 2 disease, at which the tumor may be quite large but the cancer has not yet spread.

Researchers found that three quarters of the patients with the highest vitamin D levels were still alive at the end of five years, compared with less than two thirds of those with the lowest levels.

The results show that vitamin D is associated with a much better chance of cancer survival, although the nature of this relationship is not clear from this study.

The study's authors aim to set up a clinical trial to test whether taking vitamin D tablets in combination with chemotherapy can improve bowel cancer survival rates.

Measuring vitamin D levels in bowel cancer patients could also provide a useful indication of prognosis, the scientists say.

Professor Malcolm Dunlop, of the Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh, said: "Our findings are promising but it is important to note that this is an observational study. We need carefully designed randomised clinical trials before we can confirm whether taking vitamin D supplements offers any survival benefit for bowel cancer patients."


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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University of Edinburgh. "Vitamin D ups bowel cancer survival odds, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140709105010.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2014, July 9). Vitamin D ups bowel cancer survival odds, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140709105010.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Vitamin D ups bowel cancer survival odds, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140709105010.htm (accessed August 29, 2015).

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