Health Discoveries in Lymphomas

Vitamin D shows strong link to improvement in patients treated for lymphoma

January 8, 2010
Vitamin D may slow the progression of cancer and improve the survival rate of patients being treated for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a new study has found.

"These are some of the strongest findings yet between vitamin D and cancer outcome," said Dr. Matthew Drake, an endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, adding that while the findings need to be verified by further research, "they raise the issue of whether vitamin D supplementation might aid in treatment for this malignancy."

In a total of 374 patients who were newly diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, 50 percent were found to have deficient vitamin D levels and had a 1.5-fold greater risk of disease progression and a two-fold risk of dying, compared to patients with optimal vitamin D levels. Drake said there is a growing association between vitamin D and cancer risk and outcomes, and the belief that vitamin D supplements might also help patients already diagnosed with some forms of cancer.

The study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute, was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Iowa/Mayo Clinic Lymphoma Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE).

At the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, scientists are trying to identify genetic changes that trigger lymphoma in order to develop targeted medicines for this cancer of the lymphatic system. The Institute is the research arm of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19546462-ADNFCR
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