Sun exposure, vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms, and breast cancer risk in a multiethnic population

Esther M. John, Gary G. Schwartz, Jocelyn Koo, Wei Wang, Sue A. Ingles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Scopus citations

Abstract

Considerable evidence indicates that vitamin D may reduce the risk of several cancers, including breast cancer. This study examined associations of breast cancer with sun exposure, the principal source of vitamin D, and vitamin D receptor gene (VDR) polymorphisms (FokI, TaqI, BglI) in a population-based case-control study of Hispanic, African-American, and non-Hispanic White women aged 35-79 years from the San Francisco Bay Area of California (1995-2003). In-person interviews were obtained for 1,788 newly diagnosed cases and 2,129 controls. Skin pigmentation measurements were taken on the upper underarm (a sun-protected site that measures constitutive pigmentation) and on the forehead (a sun-exposed site) using reflectometry. Biospecimens were collected for a subset of the study population (814 cases, 910 controls). A high sun exposure index based on reflectometry was associated with reduced risk of advanced breast cancer among women with light constitutive skin pigmentation (odds ratio = 0.53, 95% confidence interval: 0.31, 0.91). The association did not vary with VDR genotype. No associations were found for women with medium or dark pigmentation. Localized breast cancer was not associated with sun exposure or VDR genotype. This study supports the hypothesis that sunlight exposure reduces risk of advanced breast cancer among women with light skin pigmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1409-1419
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume166
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Polymorphism, genetic
  • Receptors, calcitrol
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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