Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Prostate cells contain vitamin D receptors as well as enzymes necessary for vitamin D metabolism. Vitamin D metabolites have an antiproliferative and a pro-differentiating effect on prostate cancer cell lines in vitro and in vivo. As a result, there has been an emerging interest in the potential role of vitamin D in the etiology of prostate cancer. This review summarizes all available epidemiological literature on the association between dietary vitamin D, circulating levels of vitamin D and sunlight exposure in relation to prostate cancer risk. To place these studies in context, we also provide some background information on vitamin D, such as its dietary sources, metabolism, optimal levels, hypovitaminosis and relationship with the prostate.

Keywords: vitamin D, sunlight, risk