Suboptimal Vitamin D levels among adult survivors of childhood cancers

Denise A. Rokitka, Robert Lisac, Jennifer E Heffler, Michael A Zevon, Martin C Mahoney


Purpose: Vitamin D plays an important role in many bodily systems, with increasing evidence suggesting its importance for the prevention of chronic diseases and cancer. The identification of vitamin D levels in childhood cancer survivors becomes, therefore, particularly relevant, given that optimizing levels may contribute to the prevention of secondary malignancies and chronic diseases.

Methods: A cross - sectional analysis of serum 25 - hydroxyvitamin D levels among adult survivors of childhood cancers living in New York State and surrounding areas (n = 139) was performed. Independent variables included gender, race/ethnicity, cancer site, year of diagnosis, past medical and surgical history, prior radiation therapy; prior chemotherapy, age at diagnosis, age at last clinic visit, year of last clinic visit, height, weight, body mass index, and vitamin D supplementation.

Results: Overall, 34% of survivors were vitamin D deficient (< 20 ng/ml), 39% were classified as insufficient (20 - 29 ng/ml) and 27% (≥ 30 ng/ml) were classified as having sufficient levels. Despite vitamin D supplementation among 41 patients, 68.3% continued to have insufficient or deficient levels. Participants with a BMI > 25 demonstrated lower levels of vitamin D (p < 0.05). Vitamin D levels did not vary by age group, race, ethnicity, diagnosis, or years since diagnosis.

Conclusion: Given the growing awareness of the role of vitamin D and the documented late effects of treatment for childhood cancers, the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency within the childhood cancer survivor population is of concern. Vitamin D represents an important target for surveillance and intervention to help improve long - term outcomes of childhood cancer survivors.


Vitamin D deficiency, Cancer survivor, Pediatrics, Preventive care, Quality of care

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