Send to

Choose Destination
Endocr Res. 2016 May;41(2):71-80. doi: 10.3109/07435800.2015.1037048. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 inhibits the proliferation of thyroid cancer stem-like cells via cell cycle arrest.

Author information

a Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, St. Hedwig Hospital and Charite , University Medicine , Berlin , Germany.



An anti-proliferative effect of vitamin D has been reported in different carcinomas, including thyroid cancer. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a very small fraction of cancer cells, are widely believed to be responsible for cancer initiation, relapse and metastasis.


We addressed the question as to whether CSCs derived from the anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cell lines SW1736, C643, HTh74 and its doxorubicin- resistant subline HTh74R are also a target of vitamin D action.


The effect of calcitriol on growth of HTh74, HTh74R, SW1736 and C643 cell lines was investigated by cell viability assays. In stem-enriched cells derived from thyro-spheres cell cycle analysis and apoptotic assays were performed. Furthermore, the role of calcitriol in the formation of cancer thyro-spheres and its putative differentiation-inducing effect were analysed.


CSCs isolated as thyro-spheres from all the four anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cells expressed vitamin D receptors as did their parental cells. Calcitriol inhibited proliferation of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cells with a more pronounced effect on doxorubicin-resistant HTh74R cells, and it significantly reduced the capacity to form stem cell-derived spheres and decreased the size of these spheres that consist of CSCs and their progenitor cells. As revealed by cell cycle analysis, calcitriol induced G2/M phase arrest in thyro-sphere cells derived cells from HTh74, HTh74R and C643 but did not affect apoptosis. Finally, calcitriol altered morphology of CSCs.


Calcitriol inhibited the growth of CSCs derived from anaplastic thyroid cancer cells. It may also exert a pro-differentiation effect in thyroid CSCs.


Calcitriol; cancer stem-like cells; growth; thyroid carcinoma

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center