Chemotherapy is linked to severe vitamin D deficiency in patients with colorectal cancer

Int J Colorectal Dis. 2009 Feb;24(2):219-24. doi: 10.1007/s00384-008-0593-y. Epub 2008 Oct 2.


Background: Preclinical and clinical evidence support an association between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Normal vitamin D status has been linked to favorable health outcomes ranging from decreased risk of osteoporosis to improved cancer mortality. We performed a retrospective study to assess the impact of metastatic disease and chemotherapy treatment on vitamin D status in patients with colorectal cancer residing in Western New York.

Materials and methods: Patients, 315, with colorectal cancer treated in a single institute were assayed for 25-OH vitamin D. The association of age, gender, primary disease site and stage, body mass index, and chemotherapy with vitamin D status was investigated.

Results: Vitamin D deficiency was common among participants with a median 25-OH vitamin D level of 21.3 ng/ml (optimal range 32-100 ng/ml). Primary site of disease and chemotherapy status were associated with very low 25-OH vitamin D levels (< or =15 ng/ml) on multivariate analysis. Patients receiving chemotherapy and patients with a rectal primary were 3.7 and 2.6-fold more likely to have severe vitamin D deficiency on multivariate analysis than nonchemotherapy patients and colon cancer primary patients, respectively.

Conclusions: Chemotherapy is associated with a significant increase in the risk of severe vitamin D deficiency. Patients with colorectal cancer, especially those receiving chemotherapy, should be considered for aggressive vitamin D replacement strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / complications*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology*


  • Vitamin D