Correlates of 25-hydroxyvitamin D among Chinese breast cancer patients

PLoS One. 2014 Jan 21;9(1):e86467. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086467. eCollection 2014.


Background: Few studies have investigated vitamin D status in association with modifiable lifestyle factors and clinical characteristics among breast cancer patients, with no studies among Chinese women, who may be at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. We aimed to evaluate circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels in association with clinical and lifestyle factors among 1,940 Chinese breast cancer patients.

Methods: Participants included breast cancer cases aged 22-77 from a population-based case-control study conducted in Shanghai, China during 1996-1998 (n = 1,044) and 2002-2005 (n = 896). Circulating 25(OH)D levels were measured in plasma samples (95% collected ≤6 months post-diagnosis). Prevalence ORs and 95% CIs were derived from multinomial logistic regression models, adjusting for age, season, and other factors.

Results: About 23% and 48% of women were vitamin D deficient (<30 nmol/L) or insufficient (30-50 nmol/L), respectively. Tumor characteristics were not associated with vitamin D status. Higher BMI was associated with increased odds of vitamin D deficiency (ORs (95% CIs): 1 (reference), 1.12 (0.85,1.47), and 1.57 (1.02,2.42), for <23, 23-<27.5, and ≥27.5 kg/m(2), respectively, Ptrend <0.06). Total physical activity was associated with reduced odds of vitamin D deficiency (ORs (95% CIs):1 (reference), 0.84 (0.59,1.20), 0.65 (0.45,0.93), and 0.69 (0.48,1.00), for <7.65, 7.65-<10.6, 10.6-<13.5, ≥13.5 MET-hours/day, respectively, Ptrend <0.02). Smoking was associated with vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency (ORs (95% CIs): 2.50 (1.07,5.84) and 2.78 (1.11,6.95), respectively).

Conclusions: In the largest study to date, the prevalence of low vitamin D status was high among Chinese breast cancer patients and associated with higher BMI, smoking, and lower physical activity. Our findings support careful monitoring of vitamin D status and recommendations for supplementation and other lifestyle modifications that may improve vitamin D status in breast cancer patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D