Vitamin D and breast cancer: Emerging concepts

Published on Thursday, 22 May 2014


The benefit of vitamin D in cancer prevention and to certain extent therapy has been well recognized.

The active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (1,25(OH)2 D3) is a natural ligand for vitamin D receptor (VDR).

Since 1,25(OH)2D3 exerts toxic effects at a concentration that is beneficial, nearly 1500 analogs of vitamin D have been synthesized and evaluated for their efficacy in a variety of carcinogenesis and human cancer models both in vitro and in vivo. Among these only a handful of them have been approved for evaluation in clinical trials for leukemia, breast, prostate and colon cancers.

The mechanism of vitamin D action is mediated by the nuclear VDR and the signaling cascade for its action is extensively reported. In this review we focus on the newer concepts for vitamin D action. These include (1) differential effects of vitamin D in maintaining cell proliferation when the cells are under stress but suppressing cell growth when the cells are transformed; (2) functional significance of VDR polymorphism in potential vitamin D responsiveness; (3) regulation of constitutive splicing of vitamin D target gene, CYP24a, by the hormone and its significance; and (4) regulation of microRNA by vitamin D in breast cancer.

It is anticipated that the new work in these selective areas would expand the understanding of vitamin D in breast cancer prevention and therapy.



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