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ISRN Oncology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 483687, 22 pages
Review Article

Vitamin D: Are We Ready to Supplement for Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment?

1Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
2Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
3Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA

Received 8 January 2013; Accepted 29 January 2013

Academic Editors: C.-X. Pan, S. Patel, A. E. Pinto, and T. Yokoe

Copyright © 2013 Katherine D. Crew. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Vitamin D deficiency is a potentially modifiable risk factor that may be targeted for breast cancer prevention and treatment. Preclinical studies support various antitumor effects of vitamin D in breast cancer. Numerous observational studies have reported an inverse association between vitamin D status, including circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels, and breast cancer risk. The relationship between vitamin D and mammographic density, a strong predictor of breast cancer risk, remains unclear. Studies analyzing the link between genetic polymorphisms in vitamin D pathway genes and breast cancer incidence and prognosis have yielded inconsistent results. Vitamin D deficiency among breast cancer patients has been associated with poorer clinical outcomes and increased mortality. Despite a number of clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation, the efficacy, optimal dosage of vitamin D, and target blood level of 25(OH)D for breast cancer prevention have yet to be determined. Even with substantial literature on vitamin D and breast cancer, future studies need to focus on gaining a better understanding of the biologic effects of vitamin D in breast tissue. Despite compelling data from experimental and observational studies, there is still insufficient data from clinical trials to make recommendations for vitamin D supplementation for breast cancer prevention or treatment.