Vitamin D deficiency and its relationship to cancer stage in patients who underwent thyroidectomy for papillary thyroid carcinoma.

Anita Sulibhavi, Matthew L. Rohlfing, Scharukh M. Jalisi, David B. McAneny, Gerard M. Doherty, Michael F. Holick, J. Pieter Noordzij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: As imaging technology improves and more thyroid nodules and malignancies are identified, it is important to recognize factors associated with malignancy and poor prognosis. Vitamin D has proven useful as a prognostic tool for other cancers and may be similarly useful in thyroid cancer. This study explores the relationship of Vitamin D to papillary thyroid carcinoma stage while accounting for socioeconomic covariates. Materials and methods: The medical records of all patients who underwent thyroidectomy at one institution between 2000 and 2015 were reviewed. Subjects with non-papillary thyroid cancer pathology, prior malignancy, and without Vitamin D levels were excluded. The remaining 334 patient records were examined for cancer stage, Vitamin D levels, Vitamin D deficiency listed in history, and demographic and comorbid factors. Results: Vitamin D laboratory values showed no significant relationship to cancer stage (p = 0.871), but patients with Vitamin D deficiency documented in the medical record were more likely to have advanced disease (28.6% versus 14.7%; p = 0.028). The patients with documented Vitamin D deficiency also had lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D nadirs (21.5 ng/mL versus 26.5 ng/mL, p = 0.008) and were more likely to be on Vitamin D supplementation (92.6% versus 41.8%, p < 0.001). Conclusions: The results suggest that Vitamin D deficiency may have value as a negative prognostic indicator in papillary thyroid cancer and that pre-operative laboratory evaluation may be less useful. This is important because Vitamin D deficiency is modifiable. While different racial subgroups had different rates of Vitamin D deficiency, neither race nor socioeconomic status showed correlation with cancer stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-541
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Cancer staging
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma
  • Prognosis
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Vitamin D


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