AACR Logo Racial disparity seems to occur in the level of vitamin D found in an individual. A recent study claims that African-American women have lower vitamin D levels as compared to white women. Apparently insufficiency of vitamin D is associated with elevated risk of developing aggressive breast cancer. It is known that darker skin pigmentation acts like a block to produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, a primary source of vitamin D in most people.

Investigators analyzed 107 women suffering from breast cancer for the past five years. While 60 were African-American women, the remaining 47 were white. Blood samples were scrutinized for ascertaining vitamin D status. It was noted that circulating 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels can be regarded as a marker. Experts maintained mean serum concentration of vitamin D as 29.8 ng/ml in white women and 19.3 ng/ml in African-American women.

Vitamin D deficiency as a serum concentration less than 20 ng/ml was defined by Susan Steck, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Carolina, and colleagues. Such low levels were apparently found in 60 percent African-American women and 15 percent white women. Serum levels were seemingly lowest among patients with triple-negative breast cancer. Patients with vitamin D deficiency were eight times more capable of developing the aggressive form of breast cancer.

The study was presented at the Third AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities.