Sufficient Vitamin D Levels Slows Disease Progression and Death in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients


A recent study carried out at Mayo Clinic and published online in the journal Blood concluded that patients with low levels of vitamin D progressed faster and were twice as likely to die after being diagnosed with leukemia than those with adequate levels. These associations continued even when other prognostic factors associated with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) were controlled.

Three hundred ninety CLL patients were enrolled in a prospective, observational study and at admission checked their blood levels of 25-hydroxyl-vitamin D. They found 30% to have insufficient levels (less than 25 nanograms per milliliter). After a median of 3 years follow up, those with deficient vitamin D levels were 66% more likely to to progress and require chemotherapy and also had a two fold increased risk of death.

To confirm these findings the researchers studied another group of 153 untreated CLL patients who had been followed for 19 years and found about 40 % of those were vitamin D deficient at the time of diagnosis. These patients were again significantly more likely to have their disease progress and to have died.

Further research is planned to determine if vitamin D replacement in CLL patients with low levels will reverse the more rapid progression associated with the insufficiency.
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