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Br J Cancer. 2017 Apr 11;116(8):1092-1110. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2017.44. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

The impact of vitamin D pathway genetic variation and circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D on cancer outcome: systematic review and meta-analysis.

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MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH42XU, UK.
Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 24, Republic of Ireland.
Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH164UX, UK.



Vitamin D has been linked with improved cancer outcome. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigates the relationship between cancer outcomes and both vitamin D-related genetic variation and circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) concentration.


A systematic review and meta-analysis of papers until November 2016 on PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Science pertaining to association between circulating vitamin D level, functionally relevant vitamin D receptor genetic variants and variants within vitamin D pathway genes and cancer survival or disease progression was performed.


A total of 44 165 cases from 64 studies were included in meta-analyses. Higher 25OHD was associated with better overall survival (hazard ratio (HR=0.74, 95% CI: 0.66-0.82) and progression-free survival (HR=0.84, 95% CI: 0.77-0.91). The rs1544410 (BsmI) variant was associated with overall survival (HR=1.40, 95% CI: 1.05-1.75) and rs7975232 (ApaI) with progression-free survival (HR=1.29, 95% CI: 1.02-1.56). The rs2228570 (FokI) variant was associated with overall survival in lung cancer patients (HR=1.29, 95% CI: 1.0-1.57), with a suggestive association across all cancers (HR=1.26, 95% CI: 0.96-1.56).


Higher 25OHD concentration is associated with better cancer outcome, and the observed association of functional variants in vitamin D pathway genes with outcome supports a causal link. This analysis provides powerful background rationale to instigate clinical trials to investigate the potential beneficial effect of vitamin D in the context of stratification by genotype.

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