Lower Vitamin D Levels Predict Poor Survival Outcomes in Melanoma, Breast Cancer and CLL

Lower Vitamin D Levels Predict Poor Survival Outcomes in Melanoma, Breast Cancer and CLL

The Cancer Network has reported research findings that mirror those found for CLL and Vitamin D:


' In patients with melanoma, lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D (vitamin D) levels were associated with poorer survival outcomes, according to a prospective study. This association was independent of C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.

“Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties, has antiproliferative effects on melanoma cells, can inhibit tumor growth and tumor invasiveness, and promotes melanoma cell DNA repair,” wrote study authors led by Jeffrey E. Lee, MD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Studies on intake or blood levels of vitamin D and melanoma risk, however, have yielded inconsistent results.


Several factors were significantly associated with vitamin D levels. They were higher when blood was drawn in the spring or summer compared to fall or winter (26.39 ng/mL vs 23.59 ng/mL; P < .001), and lower with increasing patient age and increasing CRP levels.


“The current investigation is the first, to our knowledge, to report a significant, independent association between lower vitamin D levels and poorer melanoma survival after adjustment for the influence of the [systematic inflammatory response] through simultaneous measurement of CRP,” the authors concluded. “A coordinated investigation of the mechanisms responsible for the independent association of these two important inflammatory biomarkers with outcomes in patients with melanoma is likely to be clinically relevant and may have implications for other cancers.” '

Interesting to note that lower vitamin D levels correlated with increasing CRP levels (with the latter an indication of inflammation or tumour activity). Obviously there's still a great deal we don't know about Vitamin D...

Update 11-Nov2016 - Serum Vitamin D Levels Linked With Breast Cancer Prognosis : cancernetwork.com/news/seru...



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13 Replies

  • Good job Neil as always.  (I'm taking vitamin D as I type this.)  I guess in sunny Australia you get plenty of vitamin D but it never hurts to supplement to be sure especially in winter.

      When I had my vitamin D levels tested it was right at 50%.  ( I take about 4,000 units of vitamin D a day.) Is there any evidence that being higher than 50% is protective?  I have read that too much vitamin D in mega doses is not good either.  The more we know and the better the research the better off we all will be.

      I appreciate all of your informative postings!

    Many thanks,


  • By 50% I presume you mean midway between the upper and lower limits?  If so, I'd say that this would be a conservative level to stay at given our acknowledged still developing understanding of the influence of vitamin D on CLL progression.  Hopefully when Mayo Clinic complete their current clinical trial and release the study findings, we'll know better what to recommend.

    One study into how the health of patients varied with vitamin D serum levels found a gradually increasing cardiovascular risk associated with higher serum levels, but again, these results need to be reproduced for confirmation - and hopefully an understanding of why that may be the case.


  • Hi Neil,

    My primary care doc said my D level tested at 50% but never explained it any further.  I assume it meant between the upper and lower limits as you say.  I will have this rechecked as it has been about 5 years since this test but I have always supplemented with D as it does so much good for your entire body even your bones!   I live in the South and love to swim so I get a lot of sun except in the winter.  I am frankly surprised that I didn't score higher for vitamin D levels!   I may have to up my supplementation a little.  Fighting CLL is my number one priority.  I just visited one of the doctors listed on the Health Unlocked website who is a CLL expert and he told me I had a very slow growing cancer which may not need treatment for a long time.  He also mentioned that great nutrition was a good idea.   I am so grateful for your list of CLL specialists.  So happy I found this source of information and support.

    Be well,


  • I was tested and found to be below the lower recommended limit. 1000 units a day, the maintenance dose, had me just above the recommended level within a month.  I have continued taking this dose since. 

    So worth being tested especially in the light of Neil's post today if you have never been checked. 

    If you ate taking Vit d3 supplements also worth having a follow up test to see that your dose is maintain the recommended level.  

    If you are taking this supplement under medical supervision, recommended,  then you should never get close to a dangerous level. 

  • Thanks Myrddin,

    I live in the USA and it is not always easy to get doctors to take these D measurements.  Sometimes you really have to twist some arms!  I will see if I can be retested and try do it more often.  I love sunshine but have already had one bout with skin cancer so I am reluctant to do a lot of basking in the sun.  Some sun is beneficial so it is a balancing act.  I supplement with around 4,000 units of D3 a day so I was surprised my levels were just at 50%.

    Many thanks for your comments.  Neil is such a great source of information and now this is really on my radar screen.

    :) Kathy

  • It took me 5000 iu/day to get up to 35 - 30 being the lowest acceptable level

  • And while I believe in supplementing D3, medical science has yet to prove that supplementing has a positive benefit. Put in other terms- low D3 levels could be a cause or result of something else in our complex bodies.  I believe Mayo is running a trial on CLL patients to determine whether oral supplements provide benefits similar to naturally occurring high levels of D3.  Lets hope the results are proven for those of us with chronically low levels of D3. 

  • Read an interesting report somewhere where CLL were plotted globally. Minimal cases along the equator, increasing towards the poles. Yes- waiting for that report.

  • I would ask your doctors what they consider to be a healthy range. My doctors look for between 60 and 80 (US). Look at actual numbers, not %. Mine is checked about every 6 months. Initially it was every three months for the two years of adjusting up and down to find the right dose for me.

    Myrddin, I am also in the US (Southern California). I initially had to ask about having my D and B levels tested (2010). Now all of my doctors ask to have them tested routinely.

  • Serum Vitamin D Levels Linked With Breast Cancer Prognosis (as it is with melanoma and CLL prognosis): cancernetwork.com/news/seru...

  • Neil,

    Interesting article...thank you.

    I live in the northern United States and sunshine here pretty much disappears come November! I decided to have my Vitamin D levels checked last week. I was at 27, which 30 is the low end of normal. My GP put me on 2000IU's a day and then another blood test in 3 months to see where we are at. I do take the softgels as they don't upset my stomach as much as the tablets do and I take them with a meal.

    I do know that I have never had a GP offer to take a blood draw for Vitamin D. I did have to ask for mine. I think it should be part of your yearly physical. Being in the north part of the country, our sunshine is limited. It seems it only shines from May till October! Gets a little depressing at times. Maybe the supplement will help with that depressing feeling over the winter!!

  • Interesting study from the Mayo at ASH 2016 in chemo treated Follicular Lymphomas... and VitD

    FL is not CLL but it is in the same family... don't read too much into this, but it is noteworthy...


  • I am self medicating with vitamin D - spray under tongue 3000 mg having read about this on the site and living in the UK. My haematologist has no interest in this and wouldn't give me a test.

    She is not a CLL specialist as far as I am aware. Not even sure if I could get one in the south west of the U.K. Also taking vitamin B and Magnesium and Tumeric and clorella! Hope I'm doing right thing. I am keeping pretty stable.

    However, my haematologist Couldn't be less interested but doesn't say not to take them.

    Sorry I think I should have put this out as a post s have gone off piste!

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