Experimental evidence and ecologic correlation studies support the
hypothesis that vitamin D may reduce breast cancer risk. Yet this novel
hypothesis is largely untested in human populations. An on-going
population-based case-control study of breast cancer in Hispanic,
African-American, and White Women will assess the associations with
sunlight exposure and dietary vitamin D intake. On-going molecular
research by one of the investigations of this applications suggests that
polymorphisms of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene are related to the
breast cancer risk. We therefore propose to expand the on-going case-
control study in order to broaden our examination of the relation with
vitamin D. In addition to the interview data being collected, we propose
to obtain blood samples for a subset of study participants and to extend
the case and control ascertainment by 10 months. Eligible cases will
include women aged 35-79 and diagnosed with invasive breast cancer
between May 1997 and February 1999. Cases will be identified through the
cancer registries in the Greater San Francisco Bay area; controls will
be selected from the general population through random-digit dialing.
Professional interviewers will collect interview data, measure skin
pigmentation, and obtain blood specimens through home visits. Blood
specimens and risk factor data will be available for an estimated 640
cases (245 Hispanics, 225 Whites, and 170 African-Americans) and 960
controls (365 Hispanics, 340 Whites, and 255 African-Americans). We will
assess (1) the association with two markers (poly-A and FOKI) of the VDR
gene in Hispanics and Whites; (2) the association with the BsmI/poly-A
haplotype in African-Americans; and (3) the possible modifying effect of
VDR genotype on the association with sunlight exposure and dietary
vitamin D intake. We will also bank DNA, buffy coat, and plasma for
future molecular epidemiologic studies. Building upon the infrastructure
of the on-going study, we have the opportunity to establish a valuable
resource for more thoroughly assessing the relationship between vitamin
D and breast cancer risk; for conducting future molecular epidemiologic
research as new biomarkers and genes will be identified in the future;
and for investigating gene-environment interactions in a multi-ethnic
population. Since vitamin D exposure is potentially modifiable, the
proposed research may have important implications for new approaches to
breast cancer prevention.
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