Higher vitamin D exposure is hypothesized to prevent several cancers, possibly through genomic effects modulated by the vitamin D receptor (VDR), and autocrine/paracrine metabolism of the VDR's ligand, 1α,25-(OH)-vitamin D. Herein we review the background and evidence to date on associations between polymorphisms in and selected genes in the vitamin D pathway in relation to colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer. Although most studies to date have examined only a few polymorphisms, more are beginning to comprehensively investigate polymorphisms in the as well as in other vitamin D pathway genes, such as the vitamin D–binding protein gene () and and , which code for enzymes that, respectively, synthesize and degrade 1α,25-(OH)-vitamin D. Currently, there is no strong, consistent epidemiologic evidence for substantial influences of single variants in vitamin D pathway genes on risk for colorectal, breast, or prostate cancer, but promising leads are developing.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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