A recent analysis found that the use of Vitamin D supplements significantly reduced the risk of relapse or death in patients with digestive tract cancer who were p53-immunoreactive.

Some studies estimate that about 80% of both ESCC (Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma) and EAC (Esophageal Adenocarcinoma) tumors are p53-immunoreactive.

In patients with p53-immunoreactive tumors, taking vitamin D every day starting with their first post-operative appointment reduced the risk of relapse or death by 73%. Overall, the 5-year relapse-free survival (RFS) among those who took vitamin D was 81% vs. nearly 31% in the placebo group.

However, taking Vitamin D supplements had no effect on survival outcomes in patients with non-p53-immunoreactive tumors.

These findings represent a “game changer” for vitamin D and cancer, said Michael Holick, PhD, MD of Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. His comments came in an editorial accompanying the study, published online August 22 in JAMA Network Open.

The editorial said these findings need confirmation. but also recommended that it would be prudent, based on all available evidence, for patients with cancer to consider improving their vitamin D status with 2000 IU daily to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with their cancer. He said those patients who have a hypersensitivity to vitamin D, including patients with granulomatous disorders and some lymphomas, should not follow that recommendation.

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