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Biol Reprod. 2012 Apr 19;86(4):116. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.111.098145. Print 2012 Apr.

1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 treatment shrinks uterine leiomyoma tumors in the Eker rat model.

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Center for Women's Health Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee 37208, USA.


Uterine leiomyomas (fibroids) are the most common benign tumors in women of reproductive age. These tumors are three to four times more prevalent in African American women, who also have a 10 times higher incidence of hypovitaminosis D than white women. Recent studies have demonstrated the antitumor effects of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on several cancers, but its effects on uterine leiomyomas are still unknown. To determine the antitumor and therapeutic effects of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on uterine leiomyomas, female Eker rats (14-16 mo old) harboring uterine leiomyomas were randomized into control and experimental groups and were given vehicle versus 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (0.5 μg/kg per day) subcutaneously for 3 wk, respectively. At the end of the experiment, the rats were euthanized, and the leiomyoma tumors were analyzed. Treatment with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 significantly reduced leiomyoma tumor size in Eker rats. It also reduced leiomyoma size by suppressing cell growth and proliferation-related genes (Pcna, cyclin D1 [Ccnd1], Myc, Cdk1, Cdk2, and Cdk4), antiapoptotic genes (Bcl2 and Bcl2l1 [Bcl-x]), and estrogen and progesterone receptors. Additionally, immunohistochemistry revealed decreased expression of PCNA and MKI67 (a marker of proliferation) and increased expression of caspase 3 in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-treated Eker rat leiomyomas. Toxicity analyses using serum samples showed similar levels of SGOT, SGPT, calcium, and total bilirubin in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-treated and vehicle-treated control Eker rats. These results support that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is an antitumor agent that may be a potential safe, nonsurgical therapeutic option for the treatment of uterine leiomyomas.

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