Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum concentration and total cancer incidence and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Prev Med. 2013 Dec;57(6):753-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.08.026. Epub 2013 Sep 10.


Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies on the association of 25(OH)D with total cancer incidence and mortality.

Method: Relevant longitudinal observational studies were identified by systematically searching Ovid Medline, EMBASE, and ISI Web of Knowledge databases. Due to the heterogeneity across studies in categorizing 25(OH)D concentration, all results were recalculated for an increase of 25(OH)D by 50 nmol/L.

Results: In meta-analyses with random effects models, the summary risk ratios and confidence intervals (RRs (95% CI)) for the association of an increase of 25(OH)D by 50 nmol/L with total cancer incidence (5 studies) and mortality (13 studies) were 0.89 (0.81, 0.97) and 0.83 (0.71, 0.96), respectively. In sex-specific analyses no significant association with total cancer incidence was observed among men or women. A clear inverse association with total cancer mortality was observed among women (0.76 (0.60, 0.98)) but not among men (0.92 (0.65, 1.32)). Large heterogeneity was observed for studies on total cancer mortality (P<0.01) but not for studies on cancer incidence (P=0.41). No publication bias was found.

Conclusion: The meta-analysis suggests a moderate inverse association of 25(OH)D concentration with total cancer incidence and mortality.

Keywords: Cancer; Incidence; Meta-Analysis; Mortality; Vitamin D.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / blood
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D