Cross-sectional observational study - Investigation of vitamin D concentration in Caucasian cancer patients. what is the adequate dose of vitamin D for these patients?

Clin Nutr. 2021 Jun;40(6):3852-3858. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.04.026. Epub 2021 Apr 22.


Background & aims: Vitamin D impairs tumour-related transformation and supports the anticancer function of the immune system. Currently, there are no guidelines on vitamin D supplementation devoted solely to cancer patients. The primary objective of the study was to evaluate the frequency of vitamin D deficiency in Caucasian cancer patients and to characterize the clinical factors that predispose individuals to decreased vitamin D concentration. Secondly, the study aimed to estimate the dose of vitamin D supplementation that would prevent deficiencies in patients with cancer.

Methods: In the presented cross-sectional study the population consisted of 500 consecutive Caucasian patients with a diagnosis of neoplastic disease, some of which declared long-term vitamin D supplementation in various doses. Serum vitamin D concentration was measured once in all patients and clinical data were obtained from the hospital database. The frequencies of vitamin D deficiency were compared to certain clinical variables by appropriate statistical tests. The dose of vitamin D substitution in cancer patients was estimated using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve.

Results: Vitamin D deficiency was diagnosed in 66.8% of patients with cancer and even in 31.6% who declared vitamin D supplementation. Older age, male gender, diagnosis of head and neck cancer or squamous cell carcinoma and body mass loss were identified as factors that predispose to vitamin D deficiency. The dose of vitamin D that would prevent deficiency in Caucasian patients with cancer was set at 2250 IU daily.

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency was very common in Caucasian patients with cancer, even in terms of vitamin D supplementation. The greatest predisposition was related to elder age, male gender, diagnosis of head and neck or squamous cell carcinoma and body mass loss. The dose of vitamin D supplementation in cancer patients should probably be higher than in the general population.

Keywords: Cancer; Dietary supplements; Recommendations; Vitamin D; Vitamin D deficiency; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms*
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / ethnology
  • White People
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D