Association between low levels of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D and breast cancer risk

Public Health Nutr. 1999 Sep;2(3):283-91. doi: 10.1017/s1368980099000385.


Objective: To determine if blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-D) or its active metabolite, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-D), are lower in women at the time of first diagnosis of breast cancer than in comparable women without breast cancer.

Design: This was a clinic-based case-control study with controls frequency-matched to cases on race, age, clinic and month of blood drawing.

Setting: University-based breast referral clinics.

Subjects: One hundred and fifty-six women with histologically documented adenocarcinoma of the breast and 184 breast clinic controls.

Results: There were significant mean differences in 1,25-D levels (pmol ml(-1)) between breast cancer cases and controls; white cases had lower 1,25-D levels than white controls (mean difference +/-SE: -11.08+/-0.76), and black cases had higher 1.25-D levels than black controls (mean difference +/-SE: 4.54+/-2.14), although the number of black women in the study was small. After adjustment for age, assay batch, month of blood draw, clinic and sample storage time, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval, CI) for lowest relative to highest quartile was 5.2 (95% CI 2.1, 12.8) for white cases and controls. The association in white women was stronger in women above the median age of 54 than in younger women, 4.7 (95% CI 2.1, 10.2) vs. 1.5 (95% CI 0.7, 3.0). There were no case-control differences in 25-D levels in either group.

Conclusions: These data are consistent with a protective effect of 1,25-D for breast cancer in white women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / blood*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Odds Ratio
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Vitamin D
  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D