A significant difference in cancer progression and death in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels in their blood compared to those who didn't has been found by scientists.
Mayo Clinic researchers found that patients with insufficient levels of vitamin D when their leukemia was diagnosed progressed much faster and were about twice as likely to die as were patients with adequate levels of vitamin D, reports Newswise.
The finding is significant in a number of ways. For the first time, it potentially offers patients with this typically slower growing form of leukemia a way to slow progression, says the study's lead author, Tait Shanafelt, a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
While the researchers have not yet determined if vitamin D replacement in patients with initially low levels will reverse the more rapid progression associated with insufficiency, they are planning a study to explore that hypothesis.
This research adds to the growing body of evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for development and/or progression of a number of cancers, the researchers say.
The study has been published online in the journal Blood.