Cancer Update: Melatonin appeared to improve survival rates in those with a poor prognosis for prostate cancer, and those critically ill with cancer who were low in vitamin D were more likely to be hospitalized and to die within a year, two new studies reveal.
Melatonin increased survival after radiation
Melatonin promotes sleep and plays a role in immunity. In this study, doctors compared outcomes over 10 years in 955 men with various stages of prostate cancer who had combined hormone and radiation treatment, and who did or did not take melatonin.
While there was little difference in outcomes for men with a favorable or intermediate prognosis, men with a poor prognosis who took melatonin survived an average of 154 months compared to 64 months for men who had not taken melatonin.
Discussing the findings, doctors said melatonin was an independent factor that reduced chances of death from prostate cancer by more than two times compared to men who did not take melatonin.
Reference: Oncotarget; 2020, Vol. 11, 3723-9
Vitamin D reduces hospitalization, boosts survival
People with cancer are likely to be deficient in vitamin D. Long hospital stays, avoiding sun after radiation or other treatments, and poor nutrition all contribute.
In this study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 178 critically ill people with either of the two main types: solid tumor, or blood cancer. Those with vitamin D lower than 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) were deficient; those with no more than 12 ng/mL were severely deficient.
Three in four—74 percent—were deficient and 54 percent were severely deficient. Those who were severely deficient were more likely to be hospitalized and to die within a year. For those who survived intensive care and died within one year, severe vitamin D deficiency was the only cause other than a return of the disease, or resistance to treatment.
Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 1, nu13010022