Childhood cancer incidence in relation to sunlight exposure

J. R B Musselman, L. G. Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background:There is increasing interest in the possible association between cancer incidence and vitamin D through its role as a regulator of cell growth and differentiation. Epidemiological studies in adults and one paediatric study suggest an inverse association between sunlight exposure and cancer incidence.Methods:We carried out an ecological study using childhood cancer registry data and two population-level surrogates of sunlight exposure, (1) latitude of the registry city or population centroid of the registry nation and (2) annual solar radiation. All models were adjusted for nation-level socioeconomic status using socioeconomic indicators.Results:Latitude and radiation were significantly associated with cancer incidence, and the direction of association was consistent between the surrogates. Findings were not consistent across tumour types.Conclusion:Our ecological study offers some evidence to support an association between sunlight exposure and risk of childhood cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-220
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health Pediatric Cancer Epidemiology Training Grant T32 CA099936 and the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • childhood cancer
  • sunlight
  • vitamin D


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