Vitamin D and lung cancer risk: a comprehensive review and meta-analysis

Cell Physiol Biochem. 2015;36(1):299-305. doi: 10.1159/000374072. Epub 2015 May 4.


Background/aim: Vitamin D has been suggested to have important roles against cancer development. There were several published studies on the association between vitamin D and lung cancer risk, but not conclusive results were available.

Methods: To clarify the role of vitamin D in lung carcinogenesis, we performed a comprehensive review of the literature and a meta-analysis to evaluate the association of serum vitamin D levels and dietary vitamin D intake with lung cancer risk. Twelve studies (9 prospective cohort and 3 nested case-control studies) with a total of 288,778 individuals were included. The summary relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was used to assess lung cancer risk.

Results: Meta-analysis of total 12 studies showed that RR for the association of high vitamin D status with lung cancer was 0.84 (95%CI 0.78-0.90, P < 0.001). The RR of lung cancer for the highest versus lowest quintile of serum vitamin D levels was 0.83 (95%CI 0.77-0.90, P < 0.001). The RR of lung cancer for the highest versus lowest quintile of vitamin D intake was 0.89 (95%CI 0.74-1.06, P = 0.184).

Conclusion: Current data suggest an inverse association between serum vitamin D and lung cancer risk. Further studies are needed to investigate the effect of vitamin D intake on lung cancer risk and to evaluate whether vitamin D supplementation can prevent lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Risk
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use


  • Vitamin D