Interaction between current Vitamin D supplementation and menopausal hormone therapy use on breast cancer risk: Evidence from the E3N cohort

Claire Cadeau, Agnès Fournier, Sylvie Mesrine, Françoise Clavel-Chapelon, Guy Fagherazzi, Marie Christine Boutron-Ruault*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Experimental studies suggest protective effects of vitamin D on breast carcinogenesis, particularly on estrogen receptor- positive tumors. Epidemiologic data are less conclusive. Objective: Our objective was to investigate the association between postmenopausal breast cancer risk and current or past vitamin D supplementation overall and according to the use of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). Design: Between 1995 and 2008, 2482 invasive breast cancer cases were diagnosed among 57,403 postmenopausal women from the E3N prospective cohort during 581,085 person-years. Vitamin D supplementation was assessed from biennially self-administered questionnaires sent in 1995, 2000, 2002, and 2005 and from medicoadministrative data on drug reimbursements since 2004. Multivariable HRs for primary invasive breast cancer and 95% CIs were estimated by using Cox models. Results: A decreased postmenopausal breast cancer risk was associated with current (HR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.97) but not past (HR: 1.10; 95% CI: 0.92, 1.31) vitamin D supplementation (P-homogeneity = 0.02). The association with current vitamin D supplementation differed according to MHT use: ever users (HR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.90) and never users (HR: 1.13; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.56); Phomogeneity = 0.02. Conclusions: In this observational study, current vitamin D supplementation, mostly taken daily and combined with calcium, was associated with a decreased postmenopausal breast cancer risk in MHT users. These findings should be confirmed before considering vitamin D supplementation to partly balance the MHT-associated increased breast cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-973
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Calcitriol
  • Cohort
  • Estrogen
  • MHT
  • Menopausal hormone therapy
  • Menopause
  • Prospective study
  • Supplements
  • Vitamin D


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