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Steroids. 2001 Mar-May;66(3-5):293-300.

The role of vitamin D in prostate cancer.

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Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305, USA.


Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men in the United States. Developing new treatment strategies is critical to improving the health of men. This article will be a general review of the field with a focus on research from our laboratory. Our research has focused on four areas in which we have pursued the possible use of 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) and its analogs to treat prostate cancer: 1) The ability of 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) to up-regulate androgen receptors in LNCaP human prostate cancer cells. The implications of this finding on 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3)'s ability to inhibit cell growth in vivo are unclear at present.2) The reasons for an inability of 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) to inhibit DU 145 prostate cancer cell growth were explored. We found that combination of an imidazole drug, Liarozole, with 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) was capable of inhibiting DU 145 cell growth.3) A number of low-calcemic vitamin D analogs exhibit potent anti-proliferative activity on prostate cancer cells. We have developed a novel approach using the yeast two-hybrid system to screen for potent analogs.4) The results of a clinical trial of 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) treatment of patients with early recurrent prostate cancer. We provide preliminary evidence that 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) may be effective in slowing the rate of PSA rise in selected cases of prostate cancer. In conclusion, we believe that 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) has a role in the treatment and/or prevention strategies being developed for prostate cancer. However, to increase antiproliferative potency without increasing side-effects, the use of less calcemic analogs appears to be the most reasonable approach.

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