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Cancer Lett. 1997 Nov 25;120(1):65-9.

Effects of vitamin D3 on proliferation of cancer cells in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, USA.


The principal cause of death from most forms of cancer is metastatic disease. Cancer cells appear to grow quickly out of the control of the normal host regulatory mechanisms. Many factors contribute to this unrestrained proliferation, including increased metalloproteinase activity causing degradation of the extracellular matrix surrounding cancer cells, angiogenesis permitting easy access of the cells to the bloodstream and decrease or loss of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, an important mechanism for removal of abnormal or senescent cells. Treatment modalities targeted towards arresting cancer cell proliferation and spread are needed to improve the survival of patients with cancer. Vitamin D3, 1,25-dihydroxychole-calciferol D3, has been shown to induce apoptosis in the human breast cancer cell line, MCF-7. We have studied the effects of three concentrations of vitamin D3 on the human breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-435, the human prostate cancer cell line, LNCaP, and a human osteosarcoma cell line, U20S. We report here that vitamin D3 strikingly inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in all three cell lines.

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