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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000 Nov 15;92(22):1836-40.

Prevention of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea-induced mammary carcinogenesis in rats by 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D(5).

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Department of Surgical Oncology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago 60612, USA.



Although the active form of vitamin D, i.e., 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3), is a potent cell-differentiating agent, its use in cancer prevention or therapy is precluded because it induces excessive blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia). However, less calcemic or noncalcemic synthetic analogues of vitamin D(3) are poorly effective against mammary carcinogenesis. We synthesized an analogue of vitamin D(5), 1alpha-hydroxy-24-ethylcholecalciferol (1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D(5)), which was less calcemic than 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) and prevented the development of precancerous lesions in mammary glands. Here, we evaluate its efficacy in an experimental rat mammary carcinogenesis model.


Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D(5) beginning 2 weeks before carcinogen treatment. Animals received an intravenous injection of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea at 80 days of age and continued to receive dietary 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D(5) for an additional 105 days. Tumor incidence and multiplicity were determined, and plasma concentrations of calcium and phosphorus were measured. The efficacy of 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D(5) at different stages of carcinogenesis was determined in mouse mammary gland organ culture. All statistical tests were two-sided.


The tumor incidence was reduced from 80% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 51.9%-95.7%) in control rats to 53.3% (95% CI = 26.6%-78.8%) and 46.6% (95% CI = 21.3%-73.4%) in rats treated with 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D(5) at 25 microg/kg diet and 50 microg/kg diet, respectively. The tumor multiplicity was reduced from 1.6 tumors per rat to 1.2 (95% CI for the difference = -0.45 to 1.25; P=.34) and 0.8 (95% CI for the difference = 0.14-1.46; P =.02), respectively. There was no statistically significant increase in the plasma calcium or phosphorus concentration at either dose level. The vitamin D(5) analogue was effective during both the initiation and the promotion stages of mammary lesion formation in organ culture.


Our findings indicate that 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D(5) reduces the incidence of mammary carcinogenesis in vivo. This analogue appears to be a good candidate for further development as a chemopreventive agent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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