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Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(4):506-13. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2011.539314.

Inverse association between dietary vitamin D and risk of cutaneous melanoma in a northern Italy population.

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Center for Environmental, Genetic, and Nutritional Epidemiology CREAGEN, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.


The possibility of an inverse association between vitamin D and risk of cancer and, in particular, of cutaneous malignant melanoma has been suggested, but results of epidemiologic studies are still conflicting. We examined the relation between dietary vitamin D intake and melanoma risk through a population-based case-control study (380 cases, 719 controls) in a northern region of Italy, a country with an average vitamin D intake lower than that in northern Europe or the United States. We assessed average daily intake of vitamin D from foodstuffs using the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. In this population, levels of vitamin D intake were considerably lower than those observed in recent U.S. studies. We found an inverse relation between dietary vitamin D and melanoma risk in the sample as a whole, in both crude and adjusted analyses. In sex- and age-specific analyses, this association appeared to be stronger among males and among older subjects. These findings suggest that, at the relatively low levels of intake observed in this sample, an inverse relation between dietary vitamin D and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma may exist.

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