Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d concentrations are associated with increased risk for melanoma and unfavourable prognosis

PLoS One. 2014 Dec 1;9(12):e112863. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112863. eCollection 2014.


Background: Low vitamin D status (serum 25(OH)D concentration) is associated with increased incidence and unfavourable outcome of various types of cancer. However, there are limited data on influence of serum 25(OH)D on risk and prognosis of malignant melanoma.

Methods: Basal serum 25(OH)D concentrations were retrospectively analyzed in a cohort of melanoma patients (n = 324) and healthy controls (n = 141). We tested the hypothesis that serum 25(OH)D concentrations are predictive of melanoma risk, thickness of primary melanomas, and overall survival (OS).

Results: Median serum 25(OH)D concentrations were significantly lower (p = 0.004) in melanoma patients (median = 13.6 ng/ml) as compared to controls (median = 15.6 ng/ml). Primary tumors of patients with low serum 25(OH)D concentrations (<10 ng/ml) had significantly (p = 0.006) greater Breslow thickness (median: 1.9 mm) as compared to patients with higher levels (>20 ng/ml; median: 1.00 mm). Patients with 25(OH)D serum concentrations in the lowest quartile had inferior overall survival (median: 80 months) comparing with the highest quartile (median: 195 months; p = 0.049).

Conclusions: Our data support the concept that serum 25(OH)D concentrations are associated with risk and prognosis of melanoma. Whether normalizing serum 25(OH)D concentrations in these patients improves outcomes will require testing in future clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / blood*
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D

Grant support

This study has been conducted using infrastructure and personel of the Department of Dermatology of the Saarland University. This study has been supported in part by a research grant of the HOMFOR2013 program of the medical faculty of the Saarland University to JR (http://www.uniklinikum-saarland.de/de/forschung/). There were no other sources of funding that have supported the work. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.