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

Uzma Shamsi, Shaista Khan, Iqbal Azam, Aysha Habib Khan, Amir Maqbool, Mohammad Hanif, Tiffany Gill, Romaina Iqbal, David Callen

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27 Citations (Scopus)


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-hydro-xyvitamin 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0225402
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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