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William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP, FASCO


Is There a Link Between Vitamin D Levels and Breast Cancer in Multiethnic/Racial Groups?

By: Victoria Kuhr, BA
Posted: Tuesday, July 5, 2022

According to Dale P. Sandler, PhD, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and colleagues, vitamin D may be protective against breast cancer in non-Black Hispanic/Latina and Black/African American women. Higher total circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations were associated with a lower risk of breast cancer risk, in this case-cohort sample of women participating in a national study cohort. These findings were published in Cancer.

“Although vitamin D supplement use was not strongly associated with breast cancer in Black/African American women or non-Black Hispanic/Latina women in the Sister Study,” said the study authors, “we did observe an inverse relationship between recent supplement use and breast cancer in the full cohort.”

The association between vitamin D and breast cancer was evaluated using a case-cohort sample of self-identified Black/African American and non-Black Hispanic/Latina women participating in the nationwide Sister Study cohort. The study measured circulating 25(OH)D and 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (24,25[OH]2D) from blood samples collected from 415 women (290 Black/African American women and 125 non-Black Hispanic/Latina women) who developed breast cancer. These samples were compared with blood samples from 1,545 women (1,084 Black/African American women and 461 Hispanic/Latina women) without breast cancer.

In this study, Black/African American women had a lower estimated daily dietary intake of vitamin D (120 IU) than Hispanic/Latina women (157 IU). However, Black/African American woman were more likely to take vitamin D–containing supplements (56% vs. 50%). At a mean follow-up of 9.2 years, women with circulating 25(OH)D concentrations above 20 ng/mL had lower breast cancer rates than women with concentrations less than 20 ng/mL. At 48%, Hispanic/Latina women had the strongest relationship between higher rates of vitamin D consumption and lowered risk of breast cancer. There were also no clear differences in risk of breast cancer by menopausal status, follow-up time, or estrogen receptor status.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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