This is what I see on a daily basis:
....a 40 year-old mother of 5- and 7-year-old children who was enjoying her summer vacation in New Hampshire when she was suddenly diagnosed with widely metastatic colon cancer, now on hospice care.
....a 42 year-old single male and his 37 year-old half-sister with inherited colorectal cancer. The brother passed away on hospice this summer from metastatic disease after a courageous three-and-a-half year battle.
....a 50 year-old male who had avoided hospitals and doctors for 20 years, suddenly diagnosed with rectal cancer requiring chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and a permanent colostomy, now cancer-free for almost 2 years and no longer afraid of hospitals and doctors.
....a 65 year-old female with abdominal pain, weight loss, and decreased appetite from metastatic colon cancer, whose symptoms have completely disappeared after being treated on this trial of chemotherapy and vitamin D. Her tumors have shrunk >53% since starting treatment, she just returned from a European river cruise and is planning a winter getaway to Aruba.
....a 35 year-old mother of 3 young children who was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer and is now struggling to juggle the daily responsibilities of a young family while enduring the side effects of chemotherapy.
The above is a snapshot of my clinic and just a few of the reasons why I am an oncologist and cancer researcher. Although I can honestly say that I first became interested in the field of cancer
Vitamin D insufficiency is extremely common in the U.S., particularly among metastatic colorectal cancer patients. These low levels of vitamin D are concerning in light of increasing evidence that vitamin D may have benefits beyond maintaining bone health, including reducing the risk of developing colorectal cancer and extending the lives of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Several studies led by our research group at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard School of Public Health and subsequently confirmed by others show that individuals with higher blood levels of vitamin D have a reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to those with low blood levels. Recently, in three separate studies, we found that higher levels of vitamin D are also associated with a significant improvement in the survival of patients with colorectal cancer. Patients with the highest levels of vitamin D in the blood had approximately half the risk of dying compared to those with the lowest levels. There is also convincing laboratory data confirming the anticancer properties of vitamin D in colon cancer cells and mouse models of colorectal cancer.
This study is a phase II clinical trial to test the theory that, in combination with standard chemotherapy, higher doses of vitamin D can significantly delay cancer progression and improve the prognosis of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Patients will be randomly assigned to receive standard colorectal cancer chemotherapy with either standard-dose vitamin D or higher-dose vitamin D. We will compare outcomes between the two groups and also collect tumor and blood samples for additional future research on the role of vitamin D in colorectal cancer.
Who will benefit?
The clinical trial targets patients with previously untreated, metastatic (stage IV) colorectal cancer for enrollment, however all patients with colorectal cancer may benefit from the results and scientific knowledge that emerge from this study.
BudgetUse of funds raised on Consano is as follows:
Results are in!
I am excited to inform you that we have completed our clinical trial of high-dose versus low-dose vitamin D in combination with standard chemotherapy for treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, and the results are positive! Please see the press release below:
We completed enrollment of 139 patients in November 2016, and found that patients who were assigned to receive high-dose vitamin D in addition to standard chemotherapy had a significant 33% improvement in progression-free survival compared to patients who were assigned to receive low doses of vitamin D. Moreover, patients who received high doses of vitamin D had less frequent severe diarrhea than patients taking low doses of vitamin D, and seemed to undergo potentially curative resection of liver metastases more frequently (although this did not reach statistical significance). These results and more will be presented in an oral abstract session at our annual oncology meeting (ASCO) in June.
Thank you so much for your contributions to the first ever, randomized clinical trial of vitamin D supplementation for the treatment of patients with cancer. The study could not have been completed without your support.
Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH