Breast Cancer Genetics and Vitamin D

Originally Published: April 7, 2012
Last Updated: February 18, 2021
Healthy foods containing vitamin D

A new study published in Breast Cancer Research points to genetic differences in vitamin D receptors as potentially being responsible for higher breast cancer rates among African American women compared to European American women, thereby pointing to an association between breast cancer, genetics and Vitamin D intake. Researchers, led by Drs. Song Yao and Christine Ambrosone, found that women with the highest African ancestry were more likely to have severe vitamin D deficiency. African Americans are also more likely to have “estrogen receptor-negative” type of breast cancer. “While it is difficult to determine the exact effect of low levels of vitamin D on the risk of developing breast cancer,” said Dr. Yao, “our results show that these genetic variations, which contribute to the function of vitamin D, are strongly associated with ER-negative breast cancer and may contribute to the more aggressive breast cancer features seen in (African-American) women.” Click here to see the Newswise release.