A wide range of epidemiologic and laboratory studies combined provide compelling evidence of a protective role of vitamin D on risk of breast cancer. This review evaluates the scientific evidence for such a role in the context of the A.B. Hill criteria for causality, in order to assess the presence of a causal, inverse relationship, between vitamin D status and breast cancer risk. After evaluation of this evidence in the context of Hill's criteria, it was found that the criteria for a causal relationship were largely satisfied. Studies in human populations and the laboratory have consistently demonstrated that vitamin D plays an important role in the prevention of breast cancer. Vitamin D supplementation is an urgently needed, low cost, effective, and safe intervention strategy for breast cancer prevention that should be implemented without delay. In the meantime, randomized controlled trials of high doses of vitamin D(3) for prevention of breast cancer should be undertaken to provide the necessary evidence to guide national health policy.
Keywords: Hill criteria; breast neoplasms; epidemiology; vitamin D.