Dairy products, dietary calcium and vitamin D intake as risk factors for prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of 26,769 cases from 45 observational studies

Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(4):421-41. doi: 10.1080/01635580801911779.


In this study, we examined the available evidence and sources of heterogeneity for studies of dairy products, calcium, and vitamin D intake and the risk of prostate cancer. We pooled data from 45 observational studies using a general variance-based, meta-analytic method employing CIs. Summary relative risks (RRs) were calculated for specific dairy products such as milk and dairy micronutrients. Sensitivity analyses were performed to test the robustness of these summary measures of effect. Cohort studies showed no evidence of an association between dairy [RR = 1.06; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.92-1.22] or milk intake (RR = 1.06; 95% CI = 0.91-1.23) and risk of prostate cancer. This was supported by pooled results of case-control analyses (RR = 1.14; 95% CI = 1.00-1.29), although studies using milk as the exposure of interest were heterogeneous and could not be combined. Calcium data from cohort studies were heterogeneous. Case-control analyses using calcium as the exposure of interest demonstrated no association with increased risk of prostate cancer (RR = 1.04; 95% CI = 0.90-1.15). Dietary intake of vitamin D also was not related to prostate cancer risk (RR = 1.16; 95% CI = 0.98-1.38). The data from observational studies do not support an association between dairy product use and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adult
  • Calcium, Dietary / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dairy Products / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / adverse effects*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D