Upcoming Cancer Care Workshop: Update on Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma

Cancer Care will present a Connect Education Workshop titled, “Update on Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma” via telephone on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, Eastern Time. Weill Cornell’s Dr. John Leonard will be on the panel of experts.

The workshop is free of charge; no phone charges apply. However, pre-registration is required to secure a place on the call. Click here for more information and to register for the workshop.

Understanding the Importance of Clinical Trials

Dr. John Leonard, Director of the Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program, was on the panel of experts participating in Cancer Care’s Connect Education Workshop titled, “Understanding the Importance of Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know” in May 2011.

Click the player below to listen to the Connect Education Workshop, or click here to download the discussion on the Cancer Care website.

Vitamin D and Lymphoma

By Rebecca Elstrom, MD

Vitamin D has recently received an enormous amount of attention as the realization that many Americans are deficient in vitamin D intersects with new data regarding the possible role vitamin D may play in regulation of cancer development. A frequent question from my patients has become, “Should I be taking vitamin D?”

Last year, a group of researchers from the Mayo Clinic reported that patients with lymphoma who are vitamin D deficient had a poorer chance of surviving their disease. This was a correlative study; it did not explore whether vitamin D deficiency actually caused the patients to respond more poorly to therapy. While it is possible that vitamin D played a causative role, it is equally feasible that vitamin D deficiency was a marker for patients who were sicker for other reasons, and therefore less likely to tolerate or to respond well to treatment. Further studies will be necessary to clarify whether vitamin D deficiency caused patients to do worse, and therefore whether supplementing vitamin D in patients who are deficient will lead to better outcomes.

Until these further studies are done, what should we do? There is no indication that having higher than normal vitamin D levels will be better than having normal levels; therefore, there is not a rationale for patients with normal levels to supplement vitamin D. However, for patients who are vitamin D deficient, it seems reasonable to supplement it to normal levels, whether it will directly impact lymphoma treatment results or not. A related question is whether every patient with lymphoma should be screened for vitamin D deficiency. Until the direct impact on lymphoma outcome is clear, I cannot recommend mass screening, but discussion between patient and provider is appropriate regarding this intriguing finding.