A multicenter case control study of association of vitamin D with breast cancer among women in Karachi, Pakistan

Uzma Shamsi, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Shaista Khan, Aga Khan University
Iqbal Azam Syed, Aga Khan University
Aysha Habib, Aga Khan University
Amir Maqbool, Karachi Institute of Radiation and Nuclear Medicine Hospital (KIRAN), Karachi, Pakistan
Mohammad Hanif, Karachi Institute of Radiation and Nuclear Medicine Hospital (KIRAN), Karachi, Pakistan
Tiffany Gill, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Romaina Iqbal, Aga Khan University
David Callen, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

Pagination are not provided by the author/publisher


Background: The prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and breast cancer are both high among women living in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods: A matched case control study was conducted in two hospitals of Karachi, Pakistan to evaluate the association of vitamin D (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D) concentrations, vitamin D supplementation and sun exposure with breast cancer among Pakistani women. A total of 411 newly diagnosed histologically confirmed primary breast cancer cases were enrolled and 784 controls, free of breast and any other cancers, were matched by age (year of birth ± 5 years), residence in the same geographic area and study site. Information was collected on sociodemographic history, history of vitamin D supplementation, past medical and obstetrical history, family history of breast cancer, sun exposure history, histopathology reports and anthropometric measurement and venous blood was collected to measure serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration.
Results: Compared to patients with sufficient serum vitamin D (>30 ng/ml), women with serum vitamin D deficiency (<20ng/ml), had a higher risk of breast cancer (OR = 1.65, 95%CI: 1.10, 2.50). Women with history of vitamin D supplementation one year prior to enrollment, had significant protective effect against breast cancer (OR = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.24, 0.43).
Conclusions and Recommendation: Serum vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased risk of breast cancer, while vitamin D supplementation was associated with decreased risk of breast cancer. In Pakistani women, where vitamin D deficiency is common, raising and maintaining serum vitamin D at population level is a safe and affordable strategy. It may play a role in reducing the incidence of both vitamin D deficiency and breast cancer, particularly among poor women where the breast cancer mortality is highest due to limited resources for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment. The effects of vitamin D with regard to breast cancer risk in Karachi Pakistan should be further evaluated.