Archives of Osteoporosis

, 11:4 | Cite as

Vitamin D deficiency in patients admitted to the general ward with breast, lung, and colorectal cancer in Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Marina Aguirre
  • Natalia Manzano
  • Yésica Salas
  • Martín Angel
  • Fernando A. Díaz-CouseloEmail author
  • Marcelo Zylberman
Original Article



A high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D has been reported in cancer patients. Low levels of 25-(OH)-vitamin D were found in 158 of 162 (97.5 %) inpatients with breast, lung, and colorectal cancer under active treatment, with severe deficiency (<20 ng/ml) in 77.2 % and mild deficiency (20–30 ng/ml) in 20.4 %.


A high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency has been reported in cancer patients. Nevertheless, vitamin D serum levels have been checked in few patients. Information about the frequency of hypovitaminosis D in cancer patients in Argentina is unknown. The aim of the study was to assess the frequency of vitamin D deficiency in patients with breast, lung, and colorectal cancer.


A prospective observational study was designed for cancer patients admitted to the general ward in 2014. The patients included had breast, lung, and colorectal cancer. All of them were under active treatment. The serum level of 25-(OH)-vitamin D [25-(OH)-D] was measured and categorized as sufficiency (>30 ng/ml), mild deficiency (20–30 ng/ml), and severe deficiency (<20 ng/ml).


A total of 162 patients were included, 98.2 % were in stages III–IV. Median level of 25-(OH)-D was 15.3 ng/ml (range 4.1–103.6 ng/ml). Serum levels <30 ng/ml were found in 158 (97.5 %) patients, severe deficiency in 125 cases (77.2 %) and mild deficiency in 33 cases (20.4 %). In patients under chemo/hormone therapy, the median level was 15.3 ng/ml (range 4.1–103.6 ng/ml) and in those under concurrent therapy was 17.1 ng/ml (range 7.4–58.5 ng/ml); p = 0.1944. There were no statistical differences in severe or mild deficiency of vitamin D among breast, lung, and colorectal cancer patients.


The study found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in hospitalized cancer patients under active treatment. Many authors have recommended dosing vitamin D levels in this population; normalizing serum levels is difficult.


Cancer Vitamin D deficiency Breast neoplasms Colorectal neoplasms Lung neoplasms 


Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina Aguirre
    • 1
  • Natalia Manzano
    • 1
  • Yésica Salas
    • 1
  • Martín Angel
    • 1
  • Fernando A. Díaz-Couselo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marcelo Zylberman
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Alexander FlemingCiudad de Buenos AiresArgentina

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