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Serum vitamin D levels and survival of patients with colorectal cancer: Post-hoc analysis of a prospective cohort study

Hidetoshi Mezawa12, Tsutomu Sugiura1, Michiaki Watanabe3, Chihiro Norizoe1, Daisuke Takahashi1, Akira Shimojima1, Seryna Tamez1, Yusuke Tsutsumi1, Katsuhiko Yanaga3 and Mitsuyoshi Urashima12*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Molecular Epidemiology, Jikei University School of Medicine, Nishi-shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

2 Department of Paediatrics, Jikei University School of Medicine, Nishi-shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

3 Department of Surgery, Jikei University School of Medicine, Nishi-shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:347  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-347

Published: 2 July 2010



Recently, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels were shown to be associated with the survival of patients with colorectal cancer. However, 25OHD levels were measured a median of 6 years before diagnosis or were predicted levels. In this study, we directly measured serum 25OHD levels at surgery and examined the association with survival among patients with colorectal cancer.


We started a prospective cohort study to find prognostic factors in patients with colorectal cancer from 2003 to 2008 and stored serum samples and clinical data. As part of a post-hoc analysis, serum 25OHD levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. Association between overall survival and serum 25OHD levels were computed using the Cox proportional hazard model adjusted for month of serum sampling as well as age at diagnosis, gender, cancer stage, residual tumor after surgery, time period of surgery, location of tumor, adjuvant chemotherapy and number of lymph nodes with metastasis at surgery. Unadjusted and adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were determined.


Serum 25OHD levels were measured in 257 patients. Only 3% had sufficient levels (30 ng/ml and greater). Based on month of blood sampling, an annual oscillation of 25OHD levels was seen, with levels being lower in spring and higher in late summer. Higher 25OHD levels were associated with better overall survival under multi-variate analysis (HR, 0.91: 95% CI, 0.84 to 0.99, P = 0.027).


These results suggest that higher 25OHD levels at surgery may be associated with a better survival rate of patients with colorectal cancer.