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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2007;39(4):672-7. Epub 2006 Nov 3.

Colorectal cancer: potential therapeutic benefits of Vitamin D.

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Department of Gene Expression Regulation, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Alberto Sols/Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas/Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, C/Arturo Duperier 4, E-28029 Madrid, Spain.


Colorectal cancer is a disease that originates from the neoplastic transformation of epithelial cells of the colon and rectum, as a result of the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic aberrations. At least four sequential genetic changes, affecting one oncogene (KRAS) and three tumor suppressor genes (APC, SMAD4 and TP53), are required for the development of colorectal cancer. Abundant experimental studies and epidemiological data, as well as several human clinical trials suggest a protective effect of Vitamin D against colon carcinogenesis. Hypercalcemia, a side effect of natural Vitamin D, has currently restricted its therapeutic use; however, the development of new synthetic analogs with reduced hypercalcemic activity is promising for cancer therapy and prevention. Extensive research to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the anti-cancer action of Vitamin D is being undertaken. Understanding the complex molecular and cellular networks induced by Vitamin D or its analogs will improve the use of these compounds for the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer.

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