Cervical cancerHow does vitamin D work?

A laboratory study in Germany found that breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer tissues had increased concentrations of compounds to both convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] to the active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and to allow it to regulate the expression of genes through vitamin D receptors1.

Both breast carcinoma and ovarian cancer are well-known vitamin D–sensitive cancers2. Vitamin D has many mechanisms whereby it reduces the risk of cancer initiation, progression, angiogenesis, and metastasis3.

One way that vitamin D might reduce the risk of cervical cancer is through helping to maintain a tight epithelial junction. In a new model for the role of cancer prevention that involves maintaining tight junctions.

Epidemiological findings combined with newly discovered mechanisms suggest a new model of cancer etiology that accounts for these actions of 25(OH)D and calcium. Its seven phases are disjunction, initiation, natural selection, overgrowth, metastasis, involution, and transition (abbreviated DINOMIT). Vitamin D metabolites prevent disjunction of cells and are beneficial in other phases4.

Page last edited: 22 August 2011


  1. Friedrich, M. Rafi, L. Mitschele, T. Tilgen, W. Schmidt, W. Reichrath, J. Analysis of the vitamin D system in cervical carcinomas, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Recent Results Cancer Res. 2003; 164239-46.
  2. Grant, W. B. Garland, C. F. The association of solar ultraviolet B (UVB) with reducing risk of cancer: multifactorial ecologic analysis of geographic variation in age-adjusted cancer mortality rates. Anticancer Res. 2006 Jul-Aug; 26 (4A): 2687-99.
  3. Ingraham, B. A. Bragdon, B. Nohe, A. Molecular basis of the potential of vitamin D to prevent cancer. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 Jan; 24 (1): 139-49.
  4. Garland, C. F. Gorham, E. D. Mohr, S. B. Garland, F. C. Vitamin D for cancer prevention: global perspective. Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Jul; 19 (7): 468-83.