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Anticancer Res. 2018 Feb;38(2):1121-1136.

A Review of the Evidence Supporting the Vitamin D-Cancer Prevention Hypothesis in 2017.

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Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.


The vitamin D-cancer prevention hypothesis has been evaluated through several types of studies, including geographical ecological studies related to indices of solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) dose (the primary source of vitamin D for most people), observational studies related to UVB exposure or serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations, laboratory studies of mechanisms, and clinical trials. Each approach has strengths and limitations. Ecological studies indirectly measure vitamin D production and incorporate the assumption that vitamin D mediates the effect of UVB exposure. Findings from observational studies with long follow-up times are affected by changing 25(OH)D concentrations over time. Most clinical trials have been poorly designed and conducted, based largely on guidelines for pharmaceutical drugs rather than on nutrients. However, three clinical trials do support the hypothesis. In general, the totality of the evidence, as evaluated using Hill's criteria for causality in a biological system, supports the vitamin D-cancer prevention hypothesis.


African Americans; UVB; bladder; breast; cancer; clinical trials; colorectal; disparities; ecological studies; observational studies; review; vitamin D

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