(HealthDay News) — For patients with advanced melanoma, treatment with anti-programmed cell death 1 (anti-PD-1) results in improved response rate and longer progression-free survival for those with normal vitamin D levels, according to a study published online April 24 in Cancer.

Lukasz Galus, M.D., from the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland, and colleagues compared the effectiveness of anti-PD-1 therapy in patients with locally advanced, inoperable, or metastatic melanoma in relation to vitamin D levels. All patients received nivolumab or pembrolizumab as first-line therapy. The participants were divided into subgroups: 58 with reduced vitamin D levels, who did not receive supplementation or had ineffective supplementation, and 141 patients with normal vitamin D levels at baseline or obtained with supplementation.

The researchers found that the response rate was 36.2 versus 56.0 percent in the group with low vitamin D levels and not supplemented compared with the group with normal baseline levels or a normal level obtained with supplementation. In these groups, progression-free survival was 5.75 and 11.25 months, respectively. In terms of overall survival, there was a trend toward improved survival for the group with normal vitamin D levels (27 versus 31.5 months).

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“The authors’ opinion is that assessment of vitamin D levels and appropriate vitamin D supplementation should be considered in every patient qualified for treatment with anti–PD‐1 immunotherapy,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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