Vitamin C and D supplements may help some patients undergoing treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia, according to a new study.
The work was carried out by Dr Christian Récher at the University Cancer Institute of Toulouse in France, and colleagues.
They analysed outcomes of 431 patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy. All had low levels of these vitamins at diagnosis.
Of the patients, 169 (treated between 2018 and 2020) were also given vitamin C and D supplements. These were compared to a historical cohort of 262 patients, treated between 2015 and 2018, who were not given supplements.
Vitamin D levels rose in the supplementation group, but vitamin C levels did not, as the dose used was low.
Those taking the supplements had a 27% rate of infection during intensive chemotherapy, versus 35% for those not taking vitamins. The bleeding rate was also lower: 2% versus 6%.
Furthermore, the rate of “potentially life-threatening inflammation of the immune system” was 2% versus 9% without vitamins.
However, there were no differences between the groups for overall survival or relapse-free survival.
When looked at in a subgroup analysis, those whose disease carried a NPM1 mutation benefited from supplementation in terms of overall mortality – a 48% reduced risk of death.
The study appeared in Blood Advances.
Dr Récher pointed out that additional large randomised studies are needed to identify the mechanism responsible for this survival difference.
He said: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the potential effects of vitamin C and D supplementation during intensive chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukaemia.
“We have shown that supplementation is feasible and safe and may help reduce some significant adverse events associated with intensive chemotherapy, which is a clear benefit for patients.
“Our results are encouraging and support prospective clinical trials of vitamin C and D administration in acute myeloid leukaemia patients.”
Mouchel PL, Bérard E, Tavitian S, Gadaud N, Vergez F, Rieu JB, Luquet I, Sarry A, Huguet F, Largeaud L, Delabesse E, Huynh A, Bertoli S, Récher C. (2023) “Vitamin C and D Supplementation in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.” Blood Advances, doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2023010559
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