Study Suggests Vitamin D Screening and Appropriate Supplementation Indicated for All Cancer Patients

Vitamin D deficiency was found to be prevalent in cancer patients regardless of nutritional status, according to the results of a recent study conducted at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). Based on these results, CTCA researchers determined that screening for vitamin D deficiency and aggressive vitamin D repletion should be considered for all people with cancer.

"While emerging evidence suggests the protective role of vitamin D in cancer, vitamin D status is not routinely assessed in cancer patients despite the high prevalence of malnutrition in this population," said Carolyn Lammersfeld, national director of nutrition for CTCA and a principal investigator in the study.

During the study, a consecutive case series of 737 cancer patients (302 male and 435 female) seen at CTCA between January - June 2008, were assessed for nutritional status and categorizes into three distinct classes of nutritional status: well nourished, moderately malnourished and severely malnourished. The mean age at presentation was 55.7 years (SD = 10.2) and the most common cancer types were lung (133, 18%), breast (131, 17.8%), colorectal (97, 13.2%), pancreatic (86, 11.7%), prostate (44, 6%) and ovarian (38, 5.2%).

Before the study, the researchers hypothesized that malnutrition could contribute to vitamin D deficiency and therefore expected mean serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D] levels to be significantly lower in malnourished oncology patients. However contrary to what they expected, vitamin D deficiency was found to be prevalent in cancer regardless of nutritional status.

This study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, May 29-June 2, 2009, and was publicly released on ASCO's Web site,, on May 14, 2009.

About Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Founded in 1988, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is a national network of hospitals providing a comprehensive, fully integrative approach to cancer treatment. CTCA serves patients with advanced cancer from all 50 states at facilities located in suburban Chicago, Philadelphia, Tulsa and suburban Phoenix. For more information about Cancer Treatment Centers of America, go to

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.