Retrospective analysis of the influence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D on disease progression and survival in pancreatic cancer

Nutr J. 2016 Feb 12;15:17. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0135-3.


Background: Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in neoplastic processes in multiple organs, including the pancreas. While animal and human data have established a relationship between serum vitamin D (25(OH)D) and the development of pancreatic cancer, few studies have examined the effects of 25(OH)D on time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS) in this patient population. We hypothesize that lower baseline serum concentrations (BSC) of 25(OH)D will be associated with decreased TTP and OS.

Methods: This retrospective analysis of 1222 patients with pancreatic cancer aims to identify potential relationships between 25(OH)D and both TTP and OS, while controlling for the effects of ethnicity and body mass index (BMI). Baseline 25(OH)D was divided into quartiles defined as deficient (<20 ng/mL), insufficient (20-39 ng/mL), sufficient (40-59 ng/mL), and optimal (≥60 ng/ml). Statistical significance was declared if the two-sided p-value was ≤ 0.05.

Results: For the 627 subjects included for analysis, the median 25(OH)D was 27 ng/mL (range 4 to 114), 30.0 % were 25(OH)D deficient (<20 ng/mL), and 47.2 % were insufficient (20-39 ng/mL). Ethnicity (p < 0.0001) and BMI (p = 0.05) were significantly associated with (BSC)of 25(OH)D, while TTP (p = 0.39) and OS (p = 0.37) were not associated.

Conclusion: Suboptimal vitamin D levels (<60 ng/mL) occurred in 96 % of patients analyzed. Both ethnicity and BMI were statistically significantly associated with vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. Similar to results previously reported in the literature, this analysis did not identify a significant association between BSC of 25(OH)D and OS or TTP in patients with pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D