In a study of patients with stage III colon cancer – characterized as cancer in the large bowel area with some cancer cells in a few nearby lymph nodes -- the researchers found that while multivitamin use had no beneficial effect on patients' outcomes, it also did not have a detrimental effect. The findings are reported online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and later will be published in a print edition.
Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH, the paper's first author and a gastrointestinal oncologist at Dana-Farber, said that despite conflicting evidence on the efficacy of multivitamins to reduce cancer risk and death, studies suggest that approximately 30 percent of Americans take multivitamins to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as cancer. Among cancer survivors, between 26 and 77 percent report using multivitamins.
"With such a high proportion of cancer patients utilizing multivitamin supplements in the belief that it will help them fight their cancer, we felt it was important to really examine the data to see what impact multivitamins had on cancer recurrence and survival," said Ng.
The researchers used two questionnaires to track multivitamin use during and after chemotherapy. Of the 1,038 patients who completed the first survey, nearly half (518) responded they used multivitamins while receiving chemotherapy. Of the 810 cancer-free patients who completed the second survey six months after chemotherapy, more than half (416) reported multivitamin use.
Ng and her colleagues found no statistically significant differences in the rates of disease-free survival (the study's primary endpoint), recurrence-free survival, or overall survival between those who used multivitamins and those who didn't.
They also determined that an array of factors, including socio-economic status, household income, multivitamin and individual vitamin dosage, and consistency of multivitamin use did not impact their findings.
However, they did find a small beneficial association between age and weight and the use of multivitamins while receiving chemotherapy. Those 60 and younger experienced some survival benefit, as did obese patients. There were no benefits for either subgroup when the multivitamins were taken after chemotherapy was completed. Ng said additional studies are needed to confirm their findings and to investigate whether there were other factors that influenced the outcomes.
"This study adds to a growing body of research that questions the purported benefit of multivitamin use, and it underscores the need to investigate the use of individual vitamins, such as vitamin D, which may, in fact, provide real benefit," said Charles Fuchs, MD, director of gastrointestinal oncology at Dana-Farber and the paper's senior author. He noted that the average multivitamin typically contains only a small to modest amount of vitamin D.
The study was funded in part by the National Cancer Institute and by an American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award.
In addition to Ng and Fuchs, the other authors are Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, Jennifer Chan, MD, and Robert J. Mayer, MD, Dana-Farber; Donna Niedzwiecki, PhD, and Donna R. Hollis, BS, Duke University; Leonard Saltz, MD, Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center; Al B. Benson, III, MD, Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chicago; Paul L. Schaefer, MD, Toledo Community Hospital Oncology Program, Toledo, OH; Renaud Whittom, MD, Hôpital du Sácre-Coeur de Montréal; Alexander Hantel, MD, Edward Cancer Center, Naperville, IL; and Richard M. Goldberg, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (www.dana-farber.org) is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. It provides adult cancer care with Brigham and Women's Hospital as Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and it provides pediatric care with Children's Hospital Boston as Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center. Dana-Farber is the top ranked cancer center in New England, according to U.S. News & World Report, and one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health grant funding.
Bill Schaller | EurekAlert!
Neutrons produce first direct 3D maps of water during cell membrane fusion
21.09.2018 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Narcolepsy, scientists unmask the culprit of an enigmatic disease
20.09.2018 | Universitätsspital Bern
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2018 | Life Sciences
21.09.2018 | Event News