Association of vitamin C intake with breast cancer risk and mortality: a meta-analysis of observational studies

Aging (Albany NY). 2020 Sep 29;12(18):18415-18435. doi: 10.18632/aging.103769. Epub 2020 Sep 29.


The association between vitamin C intake and breast cancer is unclear. This meta-analysis aimed to precisely assess the association of vitamin C intake with breast cancer risk and mortality. We searched the PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases up to June 2020 and found 69 studies relevant to breast cancer risk (54 studies) and survival (15 studies). Relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using the random-effects models. Pooled results suggested that the highest versus lowest vitamin C intake was significantly associated with a lower risk of breast cancer incidence (Relative Risk = 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.81-0.92). Dietary vitamin C but not supplements was found to reduce breast cancer risk (Relative Risk = 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-0.96). For the highest versus lowest vitamin C intake, the pooled hazard risk for breast cancer-specific mortality was 0.78 (95% confidence interval, 0.69-0.88), totality mortality was 0.82 (95% confidence interval, 0.74-0.91), and recurrence was 0.81 (95% confidence interval, 0.67-0.99). Our analysis suggests that higher vitamin C intake is significantly associated with reduced breast cancer incidence and mortality. However, the intake of vitamin C supplements has no significant effect on breast cancer prevention.

Keywords: breast cancer risk; meta-analysis; survival; vitamin C.