The use of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 as an anticancer agent

Geoffrey Brown, Graham Wallace, Ewa Marcinkowska

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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The notion that vitamin D can influence the incidence of cancer arose from epidemiological studies. The major source of vitamin D in the organism is skin production upon exposure to ultra violet-B. The very first observation of an inverse correlation between exposure of individuals to the sun and the likely hood of cancer was reported as early as 1941 [1]. In 1980, Garland and Garland hypothesised from findings from epidemiological studies of patients in the US with colon cancer that vitamin D produced in response to sun exposure is protective against cancer as opposed to sunlight per se [2]. Later studies revealed inverse correlations between sun exposure and the occurrence of prostate [3] and breast [4] cancers. These observations prompted laboratory investigation of whether or not vitamin D had an effect on cancer cells. Vitamin D is not active against cancer cells, but the most active metabolite 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D) has profound biological effects. Here we review the anticancer action of 1,25D, clinical trials of 1,25D to date and the prospects of the future therapeutic use of new and low calcaemic analogues.
Original languageEnglish
Article number729
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2016


  • cancer
  • 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D
  • analogues


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