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Vitamin K for cancer?

Vitamin K treatment improved survival rates in nonremovable and removable liver cancers and reduced recurrence within 3 years after removal.


Vitamin K, commonly known for its role in blood coagulation, has been shown to exert anticancer effects on various cancers, but its clinical use is yet to be embraced by oncologists.

The study

This meta-analysis included 14 randomized controlled trials that investigated the effect of vitamin K treatment on various liver cancer outcomes as compared to a control.

The studies varied in terms of i) tumor type (e.g., solid, precancerous lesion, etc.), location, and stage; ii) vitamin K analog (e.g., vitamins K1, K2, and K3), although vitamin K2 was most common; iii) dose; and iv) treatment regimen and duration. The sample sizes ranged from 18 to 548 participants.

The outcomes measured were annual cancer recurrence and mortality following removable liver cancer within 3 years of primary treatment, overall response and survival, and progression-free survival in nonremovable liver cancer (when surgery to remove cancer was not possible).

A qualitative analysis was also conducted according to a systematic review with broader selection criteria.

The results

Vitamin K treatment following liver cancer removal reduced recurrence by 31% within years 2 and 3 (9 trials) and improved survival within 3 years by 61% (year 1, 9 trials; year 2, 7 trials; year 3, 6 trials).

Vitamin K treatment improved survival of nonremovable liver cancer by 17% (3 trials) and progression-free survival by 71% (2 trials).

The notable qualitative analysis findings were that vitamin K may lead to hematological improvements in myelodysplastic syndrome patients and may slow deterioration in patients with advanced solid tumors.

There were no differences in adverse events between groups.

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