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J Exp Ther Oncol. 2006;5(4):323-33.

Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and the retinoid N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) are synergistic for chemoprevention of prostate cancer.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824, USA.


Prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American men, develops slowly over many years. The long latent period of 20 to 30 years, involved in the multistep process of carcinogenesis, provides an important opportunity to block or reverse progression to a malignant state. Vitamin A (retinoids) and vitamin D not only have the ability to block steps in the process of carcinogenesis but they can also modulate or reverse some malignant characteristics of cancer cells. However, at high levels, vitamins A and D have undesirable side effects, thus, limiting effective dose levels and efficacy. Therefore, combination treatment at low doses, to increase efficacy and avoid toxicity, is of special interest. This study examines the effects of the synthetic retinoid N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) in combination with cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) on growth, and on the expression of vimentin, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), and retinoid and vitamin D receptor expression, using the non-tumorigenic, human prostate epithelial cell line RWPE-1. Treatment with 4-HPR and cholecalciferol resulted in synergistic growth inhibition when compared to that caused by each agent alone. A decrease in vimentin expression and MMP-2 activity, and up-regulation of vitamin D receptor (VDR) and some of the retinoid-X (RXRs) and retinoic acid receptor (RARs) subtypes, was observed. These results suggest that combined treatment with 4-HPR and cholecalciferol, at doses lower than what might be effective with single agents, increases their efficacy and suggest that this may serve as an effective strategy for chemoprevention and treatment of prostate cancer.

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