Low Vitamin C Status in Patients with Cancer Is Associated with Patient and Tumor Characteristics

PMID: 32764253
Journal: Nutrients (volume: 12, issue: 8, Nutrients 2020 Aug;12(8))
Published: 2020-08-05

White R, Nonis M, Pearson JF, Burgess E, Morrin HR, Pullar JM, Spencer E, Vissers MCM, Robinson BA, Dachs GU


Vitamin C (ascorbate) acts as an antioxidant and enzyme cofactor, and plays a vital role in human health. Vitamin C status can be affected by illness, with low levels being associated with disease due to accelerated turnover. However, robust data on the ascorbate status of patients with cancer are sparse. This study aimed to accurately measure ascorbate concentrations in plasma from patients with cancer, and determine associations with patient or tumor characteristics. We recruited 150 fasting patients with cancer (of 199 total recruited) from two cohorts, either prior to cancer surgery or during cancer chemo- or immunotherapy. A significant number of patients with cancer had inadequate plasma ascorbate concentrations. Low plasma status was more prevalent in patients undergoing cancer therapy. Ascorbate status was higher in women than in men, and exercising patients had higher levels than sedentary patients. Our study may prompt increased vigilance of ascorbate status in cancer patients.