Original Articles

Vitamin D Deficiency in Oncology Patients – an Ignored Condition:

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Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article by Elena Segal, MD, Shira Felder, MD, Nissim Haim, MD, Hedva Yoffe-Sheinman, RN, Avivit Peer, MD, Mira Wollner, MD, Zila Shen-Or, MSc and Sophia Ish-Shalom, MD.
IMAJ 2012: 14: October: 607-612
Abstract

 Background: Vitamin D status is not evaluated routinely in cancer patients with bone metastasis who are treated with bisphosphonates.


Objectives: To assess the effect of vitamin D status on risk of hypocalcemia and quality of life in these patients.


Methods: We performed laboratory tests for routine serum biochemistry, 25(OH)D, plasma parathyroid hormone (PTH) and bone turnover markers (CTX, P1NP) in 54 patients aged 57.5 ± 13 years treated with intravenous bisphosphonates.


Results: Most of the patients (n=44, 77.8%) did not receive calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Their mean serum 25(OH)D levels (12.83 ± 6.86 ng/ml) correlated with vitamin D daily intake (P = 0.002). In 53 patients (98.1%) 25(OH)D levels were suboptimal (< 30 ng/ml). Albumin-corrected calcium levels correlated with plasma PTH (P = 0.001). No correlation was observed between daily calcium intake and serum calcium (P = 0.45). Hypocalcemia was observed in one patient. Mean plasma PTH was 88.5 ± 65 ng/L. Plasma PTH correlated negatively with 25(OH)D serum levels (P = 0.003) and positively with P1NP (P = 0.004). Albumin-corrected calcium correlated negatively with P1NP (mean 126.9 ± 191 ng/ml) but not with CTX levels (mean 0.265 ± 0.1 ng/ml) (P < 0.001). There was no correlation among quality of life parameters, yearly sun exposure and 25(OH)D levels (P = 0.99).


Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is frequent in oncology patients with bone metastasis treated with bisphosphonates and might increase bone damage. Our results indicate a minor risk for the development of severe hypocalcemia in vitamin D-deficient patients receiving bisphosphonate therapy. Although vitamin D deficiency might have some effect on the quality of life in these patients, it was not proven significant.