Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 775–782

Vitamin D intake and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women: the Iowa Women’s Health Study

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10552-007-9020-x

Cite this article as:
Robien, K., Cutler, G.J. & Lazovich, D. Cancer Causes Control (2007) 18: 775. doi:10.1007/s10552-007-9020-x


Vitamin D, a prosteroid hormone with anti-proliferative and pro-differentiation activity, is thought to act as a cancer chemopreventive agent. This study evaluated the association between vitamin D intake and breast cancer risk among women in a large prospective cohort study. A total of 34,321 postmenopausal women who had completed a questionnaire that included diet and supplement use were followed for breast cancer incidence from 1986 to 2004. Adjusted relative risks (RR) for breast cancer were calculated for dietary, supplemental, and total vitamin D intake among all women. The adjusted RR of breast cancer for women consuming >800 IU/day versus <400 IU/day total vitamin D was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.77–1.03). RRs were stronger among women with negative than positive ER or PR status. The association of high vitamin D intake with breast cancer was strongest in the first 5 years after baseline dietary assessment (RR = 0.66; 95% CI: 0.46–0.94 compared with lowest-intake group), and diminished over time. Changes in vitamin D intake over time might have contributed to the diminished association observed in later years. Vitamin D intake of >800 IU/day appears to be associated with a small decrease in risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women. Studies evaluating all sources of vitamin D, especially sun exposure, are needed to fully understand the association between vitamin D and breast cancer risk.


Vitamin DBreast cancerPostmenopausal women

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim Robien
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gretchen J. Cutler
    • 1
  • DeAnn Lazovich
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Epidemiology and Community HealthUniversity of Minnesota School of Public HealthMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Prevention and Etiology Program University of Minnesota Cancer CenterMinneapolisUSA