Breast Cancer Genetics and Vitamin D

Originally Published: April 7, 2012
Last Updated: August 3, 2020
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. 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.