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  • New study on the role of vitamin D in colon cancer

Colorectal cancerHow does vitamin D work?

A number of mechanisms have been identified by which vitamin D reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. These include effects such as regulation of cell growth, differentiation, apoptosis (programmed death) and a wide range of cellular mechanisms central to the development of cancer1 2, regulation of calcium absorption and metabolism3 4 5, and prevention of epithelial cell disjunction6.

Details of how colon cancer cells convert circulating 25(OH)D to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D] including the effects of (phyto)estrogens is discussed in a recent paper7.

Page last edited: 23 August 2011


  1. 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.
  2. Rheem, D. S. Baylink, D. J. Olafsson, S. Jackson, C. S. Walter, M. H. Prevention of colorectal cancer with vitamin D. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2010 Aug; 45 (7-8): 775-84.
  3. Lamprecht, S. A. Lipkin, M. Chemoprevention of colon cancer by calcium, vitamin D and folate: molecular mechanisms. Nat Rev Cancer. 2003 Aug; 3 (8): 601-14.
  4. Peterlik, M. Cross, H. S. Vitamin D and calcium insufficiency-related chronic diseases: molecular and cellular pathophysiology. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep 2;
  5. Peterlik, M. Grant, W. B. Cross, H. S. Calcium, vitamin D and cancer. Anticancer Res. 2009 Sep; 29 (9): 3687-98.
  6. 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.
  7. Cross, H. S. Kallay, E. Regulation of the colonic vitamin D system for prevention of tumor progression: an update. Future Oncol. 2009 May; 5 (4): 493-507.