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Value of vitamin D assessment in patients with head and neck squamous cell cancer before treatment




The 5-year survival of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has not changed dramatically over the last decades despite the use of various therapeutic modalities, including surgery and/or chemoradiation. Thus, new approaches remain necessary to prevent cancer, reduce recurrence, and improve treatment with reduction of its side effects. There is recent evidence that vitamin D promotes cell differentiation and decreases cell proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Thus, it has been hypothesized that vitamin D may protect against cancer at multiple sites.


The aim of this study was to evaluate serum level of vitamin D (VD), calcium, and phosphate in patients with HNSCC before treatment as a step in studying its impact on HNSCC development and progression.

Type of the study

This prospective study was conducted between March 2013 and October 2014 at Ain Shams University Hospitals, Cairo, Egypt.

Patients and methods

The study included 80 participants categorized into two groups. Group A included 50 (36 males and 14 females) patients with various HNSCC sites; their median age was 54.8 ± 12.7 years. Group B included 30 (20 males and 10 females) sex-matched and age-matched healthy volunteers as controls; their mean age was 50.5 ± 12.0 years.


The median VD level in group A was 40.35 (31.9–55) and for group B it was 118.75 (55.0–175) (P < 0.001), indicating a significant decrease of VD in group A than in group B. VD deficiency (<37.5 nmol/ml) in group A was 42%, which was significantly more than that in group B, which was only 3%.


This study showed that vitamin D deficiency is prominent in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma before treatment than in controls. Although it may expose the patients to increased risk of therapy-related morbidity and poor outcome, it may constitute an inexpensive prophylactic and cost-effective option in the therapeutic armamentarium as a synergistic agent to traditional treatment options.


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Correspondence to Marwa M. El-Begermy MD.

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Mostafa, B.ED., Abdelmageed, H.M., El-Begermy, M.M. et al. Value of vitamin D assessment in patients with head and neck squamous cell cancer before treatment. Egypt J Otolaryngol 32, 279–286 (2016).

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  • head and neck cancer
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • vitamin D deficiency