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Vitamin K2 And Vitamin D3 Combination Therapy May Increase Red Blood Cell and Platelet Counts In Low-Risk MDS Patients

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Published: Jul 19, 2010 12:04 pm
Vitamin K2 And Vitamin D3 Combination Therapy May Increase Red Blood Cell and Platelet Counts In Low-Risk MDS Patients

For patients with low-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a combination therapy of vitamins K2 and D3 may improve low red blood cell and low platelet counts, according to a Phase 2 clinical trial conducted by Japanese researchers and published in the journal Leukemia Research.

While treatment options exist for low-risk MDS patients, such as Revlimid (lenalidomide), Vidaza (azacitidine), and Dacogen (decitabine), patients are not always responsive to such therapies. Researchers, therefore, are always looking for treatment alternatives.

The Japanese researchers explored vitamins K2 and D3 as alternative treatment options for low-risk, elderly MDS patients.

Previous reports have shown that vitamin K2 treatment can improve blood cell counts. Vitamins related to D3 have also demonstrated therapeutic effects. Vitamin D3 may enhance the effects of vitamin K2.

The researchers divided the study into two phases: an initial treatment regimen of only vitamin K2, followed by a combination therapy of vitamins K2 and D3. For the first part of the study, 38 patients who had not had any form of MDS treatment for four weeks (except transfusions) received 15 mg of vitamin K2 three times a day over the course of 16 weeks. At the end of the treatment course, patients who did not respond started taking a capsule of vitamin D3 along with the vitamin K2 for another 16 weeks.

Researchers found that out of 38 patients, five (13 percent) responded to the vitamin K2 treatment. Of the 24 patients who had low red blood cell counts, four (17 percent) showed improved red blood cell counts after the vitamin K2 treatment. Of the 24 patients with low platelet count, five (21 percent) showed improved platelet counts. The researchers noted that in four patients, both the red blood cell and platelet counts improved at the same time.

Six patients initially required platelet transfusions.  After treatment, one of these patients no longer required transfusions.  However, none of the 10 patients requiring red blood cell transfusions became transfusion-independent after treatment.

Twenty patients who did not show any improvement in blood cell count continued taking vitamin D3 in addition to the vitamin K2. With this combination therapy, the response rate increased to 30 percent.  Forty-five percent of patients experienced improved red blood cell counts, while 30 percent of patients showed improved platelet counts. One patient no longer required red blood cell and platelet transfusions.

Both the vitamin K2 treatment as well as the combination treatment of vitamins K2 and D3 did not have any effect on white blood cell count.

The researchers found that patients who responded to the combination treatment initially had lower red blood cell counts and higher white blood cell counts than patients who did not respond to treatment.

Additionally, the researchers also found that red blood cell counts improved in patients with or without high-risk chromosomal abnormalities, which suggests that chromosomal abnormalities may not affect the efficacy of the combination therapy.

Reports of side effects were very minimal. The side effects themselves, including nausea, stomach pain, and skin rash, were mild.

Based on the response rates and minimal side effects, the researchers concluded that combination therapy with vitamins K2 and VD3 has the potential to increase red blood cell and platelet counts for elderly patients with low-risk MDS.

They added that further studies will be needed to clarify the role of vitamin D3 and to determine how long the effects of the combination therapy last.

For further information, please see the study in the journal Leukemia Research (abstract).

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2 Comments »

  • myrna james said:

    I have a friend who has MDS Q-5. She was on Revlimid for about 28 weeks. Then she stopped with approval of her primary and Hemat. Onc..it wasn’t working. She wanted to go on her own for a while.
    I found this article. Thank you.
    She started on 5mg Vit. K2…I found at Vit. Shoppe( Carlson’s 5mg.) I then searched and found that Vitamin Research had Ultra K2 at 15 mg. For the last 3 weeks she has been taking this 3x daily. She has been off Revlimid since Aug 4th.
    Now her RBC Indices have become normal. The slide review for morphology is normal….Great News. After the last transfusion her decline in Hgb has lessened. This seems encouraging. Thank you MDS Beacon for this hopeful article.
    She takes B12 5000, Vit K2 45mg/day and D3 5000 IU per day. Her Oncologist said….”Can’t hurt …might help”

  • Pardo Rudolf said:

    I also have a friend with MDS. What is going on with your friend and
    the therapie with combination Vit K2 and D3??? Would you be so kind writing me?