Research Snapshot: Addressing racial disparities: Dietary vitamin A and breast cancer risk in Black women

A study published on November 9 in The Journal of Nutrition has shown an inverse association of dietary intake of vitamin A, including carotenoids, with ER-positive breast cancer risks among premenopausal Black women.

Racial disparities in breast cancer rates, particularly among those younger than age 45, are known in the United States. Although there are a variety of factors, analyses have shown contrary links with the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women and lower vitamin A intake and status. Vitamin A, a group of fat-soluble micronutrients including retinol and carotenoids, has been shown to have anti-breast cancer properties. However, these studies were mainly conducted among White women. Therefore, investigating vitamin A intake in relation to breast cancer among women of African descent is important because they are at a higher risk than White women of ER-negative breast cancer, meaning that the cancer cells do not need estrogen to grow. 

To examine the association of dietary vitamin A intake with breast cancer risks in relation to tumor ER status in a large consortium of Black women, University of Florida Ting-Yuan David Cheng, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and researchers utilized pooled data from 3564 breast cancer cases and 11,843 controls from the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk consortium.

This is the first study to address a knowledge gap on the association of dietary vitamin A intake and breast cancer risks in US Black women.


Other researchers from UF, include co-first author Kevin Bitsie, PhD student along with scientists from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, University of Hawaii Cancer Center and University of North Carolina Lineberger Cancer Center.