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Anticancer Res. 1996 Jan-Feb;16(1):337-47.

Calcipotriol (MC 903), a synthetic derivative of vitamin D3 stimulates differentiation of squamous carcinoma cell line in the raft culture.

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Department of Dermatology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.


We investigated whether calcipotriol, a synthetic derivative of vitamin D3 has the ability to correct defects in the control of proliferation and differentiation of human squamous carcinoma cells using the raft culture of SCC 13 cell line. Calcipotriol treatment at concentrations of 10(-8)-10(-6) M considerably enhanced terminal differentiation of SCC 13 cells, as shown by the appearance of enucleated-eosinophilic cells as well as granular cells in their upper cell layers. Immunohistochemical staining showed marked increases in the differentiation of marker proteins such as keratin 1, involucrin, or filaggrin expressing cells in their upper layers. The elevated expression at protein level was confirmed by immunoblotting analysis. Furthermore, calcipotriol also stimulated basal cell marker proteins such as keratin 14 and EGF receptor. However, the numbers of basal marker expressing cells within the architecture of SCC 13 raft culture were markedly reduced upon calcipotriol treatment, and their localization was mainly restricted in the innermost cell layer. In addition, calcipotriol stimulated EGF receptor biosynthesis for the first 16 hours post treatment and subsequently inhibited [3H]-thymidine incorporation of SCC 13 cells at 24 hours. In this study, we have clearly demonstrated that the long term application of calcipotriol considerably improves the complex defects in the regulation of proliferation and differentiation of SCC 13 cells, as supported by morphological and biochemical observations. This provides an evidence that calcipotriol can be applied clinically as a potent differentiation inducer in the treatment of human squamous cell carcinoma.

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