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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1999 Jun;221(2):89-98.

Vitamin D and prostate cancer.

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Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Classically, the actions of vitamin D have been associated with bone and mineral metabolism. More recent studies have shown that vitamin D metabolites induce differentiation and/or inhibit cell proliferation of a number of malignant and nonmalignant cell types including prostate cancer cells. Epidemiological studies show correlations between the risk factors for prostate cancer and conditions that can result in decreased vitamin D levels. The active metabolite of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol), inhibits growth of both primary cultures of human prostate cancer cells and cancer cell lines, but the mechanism by which the cells are growth-inhibited has not been clearly defined. Initial studies suggest that calcitriol alters cell cycle progression and may also initiate apoptosis. One of the disadvantages of using vitamin D in vivo is side-effects such as hypercalcemia at doses above physiological levels. Analogs of calcitriol have been developed that have comparable or more potent antiproliferative effects but are less calcemic. Further research into the mechanisms of vitamin D action in prostate and identification of suitable analogs for use in vivo may lead to its use in the treatment or prevention of prostate cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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