Vitamin D Deficiency Affects Overall Survival of Multiple Myeloma Patients
There have been prior reports of a prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in multiple myeloma patients, but those studies tended to be based on fairly small patient populations. In addition, ‘Recent studies suggest an important role of vitamin D in improving outcomes of patients with cancer’. The current issue of the journal Blood Advances presents data on a cohort of nearly 1,900 racially diverse patients where vitamin D levels were measured and monitored within 2 months following diagnosis.
This study reports a series of interesting points to know for myeloma patients :
- Vitamin D deficiency was observed in 46.3 % of African American and 26.3 % of white myeloma patients, though no statistical differences in this deficiency were observed between female and male patients in a given racial group.
- There was no statistical difference in OS (overall survival) between normal and vitamin D deficient patients in the African American patient group.
- The white patient group, however, showed a statistically significant difference in survival levels between patients with normal and deficient vitamin D levels (median of 3.87 vs. 2.71 years).
- ' … vitamin D level was a significant predictor of survival in white … but not in African American patients.’
The authors state that, although they identified
‘… this important association between vitamin D deficiency and differences in racial outcome, our study does not clarify any specific reason for the decreased survival in white population with deficiency.’ They also suggest ‘… a need to screen patients with multiple myeloma for vitamin D deficiency and consider replacement if deficient.’ [emphasis added].
You may wish to consider discussing the addition of a vitamin D test with your myeloma specialist if such a panel has not yet been part of your myeloma labs and adding vitamin D supplements to your medications if you are deficient in this nutritional vitamin.
You may wish to be aware that there is a Vitamin D2 supplement of 50,000 IU, available by prescription only, taken as a once-weekly capsule. This dose is much higher than the standard D3 400-800 IU dose found in a typical daily multi-vitamin supplement. This medication is NOT reimbursed in the US by Medicare and, depending on which pharmacy chain you visit, will cost you between $ 25 and $ 45 for a 12-week supply. Not a bad deal if it buys you additional time with your family and friends.