Vitamin D, calcium and prevention of breast cancer: a review

J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Oct;18(5 Suppl):392S-397S. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1999.10718903.


Several recent epidemiologic and experimental studies have suggested that decreased calcium and vitamin D intake and high dietary fat are associated with mammary gland carcinogenesis. Complete reduction or elimination of human exposure to environmental factors such as high-fat diets is inherently difficult to implement. Recent studies have begun to evaluate a possible role for increased dietary calcium and vitamin D in reducing the risk of colonic and mammary cancers, even in the presence of a high-fat diet. Studies from our laboratory recently found that decreased dietary calcium and vitamin D in a high-fat diet induced adverse changes in the mammary gland and several other organs, which were reversed by increasing dietary calcium and vitamin D; the findings further suggest a possible role for increased dietary calcium and vitamin D in the chemoprevention of these cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Calcium, Dietary / metabolism
  • Calcium, Dietary / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D