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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2004 Nov;92(4):317-25. Epub 2004 Dec 19.

The role of Vitamin D3 metabolism in prostate cancer.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Medical School, SF-33014 University of Tampere, Finland.


Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of prostate cancer. According to our recent results, the key Vitamin D hormone involved in the regulation of cell proliferation in prostate is 25(OH) Vitamin D3. It is mainly acting directly through the Vitamin D receptor (VDR), but partially also through its 1alpha-hydroxylation in the prostate. A deficiency of 25(OH) Vitamin D is common especially during the winter season in the Northern and Southern latitudes due to an insufficient sun exposure, but Vitamin D deficient diet may partially contribute to it. A lack of Vitamin D action may also be due to an altered metabolism or Vitamin D resistance. Vitamin D resistance might be brought up by several mechanisms: Firstly, an increased 24-hydroxylation may increase the inactivation of hormonal Vitamin D metabolites resulting in a Vitamin D resistance. This is obvious in the cancers in which an oncogenic amplification of 24-hydroxykase gene takes place, although an amplification of this gene in prostate cancer has not yet been described. During the aging, the activity of 24-hydroxylase increases, whereas 1alpha-hydroxylation decreases. Furthermore, it is possible that a high serum concentration of 25(OH)D3 could induce 24-hydroxylase expression in prostate. Secondly, Vitamin D receptor gene polymorphism or defects may result in a partial or complete Vitamin D resistance. Thirdly, an overexpression or hyperphosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein may result in an inefficient mitotic control by Vitamin D. Fourthly, endogenous steroids (reviewed by [D.M. Peehl, D. Feldman, Interaction of nuclear receptor ligands with the Vitamin D signaling pathway in prostate cancer, J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. (2004)]) and phytoestrogens may modulate the expression of Vitamin D metabolizing enzymes. In summary, the local metabolism of hormonal Vitamin D seems to play an important role in the development and progression of prostate cancer.

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