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ANZ J Surg. 2001 Jul;71(7):414-7.

1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 and its analogues, EB1089 and CB1093, profoundly inhibit the in vitro proliferation of the human hepatoblastoma cell line HepG2.

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University of New South Wales, Department of Surgery, St George Hospital, Sydney, Australia.



1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25[OH]2D3) has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of various cancer cells including colon, prostate, melanoma, osteosarcoma and breast cancer.


The human hepatoma cell line (HepG2) was cultured with 1,25(OH)2D3 or one of two analogues EB1089 or CB1093 for various durations. Cellular proliferation was measured by uptake of [3H]thymidine, and cell numbers were determined by trypan blue exclusion counting.


1,25(OH)2D3, EB1089 and CB1093 all inhibited proliferation of HepG2 by up to 90% after 5 days of treatment, compared to the untreated controls. Decreased proliferation was associated with an approximately 50% reduction in cell numbers at concentrations of up to 10(-10) mol/L after 5 days of treatment with 1,25(OH)2D3. Cell proliferation rapidly recovered in cultures treated with lower concentrations of 1,25(OH)2D3 (10(-10) and 10(-11) mol/L) when 1,25(OH)2D3 was removed from the cultures by placing cells in serum containing medium without 1,25(OH)2D3. When HepG2 cells were treated with 10(-8) mol/L 1,25(OH)2D3 for 5 weeks, there was still significant inhibition of proliferation, although at week 5 there was 66% inhibition compared to 93% at the end of week 1.


1,25(OH)2D3, EB1089 and CB1093 all significantly inhibit the proliferation of HepG2 hepatoblastoma cells, with EB1089 being the most potent at lower concentrations. Inhibition can be maintained for at least 4 weeks, but is reversed after removal of vitamin D3.

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