(HealthDay News) — For patients with melanoma treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), vitamin D intake is associated with a reduced risk for ICI colitis, according to a study published online June 22 in Cancer.

Shilpa Grover, M.D., M.P.H., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of a discovery cohort of 213 melanoma patients who received programmed cell death-1, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4, or combination ICIs between May 2011 and October 2017. Characteristics associated with pathologically confirmed ICI colitis were assessed.

The researchers found that 17 percent of the patients developed ICI colitis. Thirty-one percent of the patients had vitamin D use recorded before starting ICIs. Vitamin D use conferred a significantly lower likelihood of developing ICI colitis in a multivariable analysis (odds ratio, 0.35). In a confirmatory cohort of 169 patients, of whom 49 developed ICI colitis, similar results were seen (odds ratio, 0.46). In the discovery cohort only, pretreatment neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio ≥5 predicted reduced odds of colitis (odds ratio, 0.34).

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“The specific mechanism by which vitamin D may prevent immune-related colitis should be further explored through future correlative studies, including cytokine analyses and immune profiling at baseline and at the time of colitis,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries.

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