The associations of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations with total and site-specific cancer incidence have been examined in several epidemiological studies with overall inconclusive findings. Very little is known about the association of vitamin D with cancer incidence in older populations. We assessed the association of pre-diagnostic serum 25(OH)D levels with incidence of all cancers combined and incidence of lung, colorectal, breast, prostate and lymphoid malignancies among older adults. Pre-diagnostic 25(OH)D concentrations and cancer incidence were available in total for 15,486 older adults (mean age 63, range 50-84 years) participating in two cohort studies: ESTHER (Germany) and TROMSØ (Norway); and a subset of previously published nested-case control data from a another cohort study: EPIC-Elderly (Greece, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden) from the CHANCES consortium on health and aging. Cox proportional hazards or logistic regression were used to derive multivariable adjusted hazard and odds ratios, respectively, and their 95% confidence intervals across 25(OH)D categories. Meta-analyses with random effects models were used to pool study-specific risk estimates. Overall, lower 25(OH)D concentrations were not significantly associated with increased incidence of most of the cancers assessed. However, there was some evidence of increased breast cancer and decreased lymphoma risk with higher 25(OH)D concentrations. Our meta-analyses with individual participant data from three large European population-based cohort studies provide at best limited support for the hypothesis that vitamin D may have a major role in cancer development and prevention among European older adults.
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