Vitamin D and calcium intake in relation to risk of endometrial cancer: a systematic review of the literature

Prev Med. 2008 Apr;46(4):298-302. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.11.010. Epub 2007 Nov 28.


Objective: In response to a recent ecologic study of UV exposure and endometrial cancer incidence, we present the epidemiologic evidence on the relation between intake of vitamin D and its metabolically related nutrient, calcium, and the occurrence of endometrial cancer.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of vitamin D and calcium in relation to endometrial cancer, including peer-reviewed manuscripts published up to May 2007. Random and fixed effects summary estimates were computed.

Results: Pooled analyses of the three case-control studies of dietary vitamin D and endometrial cancer uncovered heterogeneous results that were not significant in random or fixed effects analyses. Cut-points for the highest vitamin D intakes ranged from >244 to >476 IU/day. Qualitatively similar findings were observed for dietary calcium. Only two studies provided estimates for calcium supplements (random effects OR=0.62, 95% CI 0.39-0.99; fixed effects OR=0.62, 95% CI 0.42-0.93, for top vs. bottom category, p for heterogeneity=0.25).

Conclusions: The limited epidemiological evidence suggests no relation between endometrial cancer in the ranges of dietary vitamin D examined, and suggests a possible inverse association for calcium from supplements. Prospective studies, ideally including plasma 25(OH) D to estimate vitamin D input from diet and sun exposure, are needed to further explore these hypotheses.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D