Prognostic Value of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 Levels at Diagnosis and During Follow-up in Melanoma Patients

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Sep 15;107(12):djv264. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djv264. Print 2015 Dec.


Background: A low 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) serum concentration at melanoma diagnosis might be associated with worse survival. We prospectively studied the prognostic value of 25(OH)D3 at diagnosis and during follow-up.

Methods: MelanCohort is a cohort of invasive melanoma patients. Serum 25(OH)D3 was measured by mass spectrometry and standardized on month of blood drawn, age, sex, and body mass index (BMI). Role of 25(OH)D3 levels and risk of relapse was analyzed in a Cox proportional hazards model adjusting for age, sex, BMI, and American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: One thousand one hundred seventy-one patients were included. 25(OH)D3 levels at diagnosis (median = 49.0 nmol/L) were inversely correlated with prognostic factors such as AJCC stage (P < .001 Kruskal-Wallis), Breslow's thickness (P < .001 Spearman correlation), and ulceration (P < .001 Kruskal-Wallis), but not with risk of relapse. Changes in 25(OH)D3 levels during follow-up were associated with worse prognosis: With a third quartile Q3 of average change per year (-0.30 to 4.60 nmol/L/Y) used as reference, hazard ratios for the first, second, and fourth quarters were 1.94 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.36 to 2.76), 1.23 (95% CI = 0.85 to 1.78), and 1.61 (95% CI = 1.14 to 2.28), respectively. In sensitivity analyses, no changes were observed either by AJCC stage, number of 25(OH)D3 measures performed, or by 25(OH)D3 level at baseline. No evidence of reverse causation was identified. Analyses performed on overall survival yielded similar results.

Conclusions: We show that 25(OH)D3 variation during follow-up is an independent melanoma prognostic marker, but not its level at diagnosis. Previously reported associations between low 25(OH)D3 level at diagnosis and poor prognosis seem to be due to insufficient adjustment for prognostic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcifediol / blood*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Melanoma / blood*
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / blood*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Vitamins / blood*


  • Vitamins
  • Calcifediol

Supplementary concepts

  • Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant