Pancreatic cancerHow does vitamin D work?

Several papers showed that vitamin D analogues to the 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D form inhibit PC cell growth in test tubes1 2 3. Vitamin D analogues up-regulate p21 and p27 as an early event, which in turn could induce growth inhibition in responsive cells1

In general, Vitamin D reduces the risk of cancer through its biologically active metabolite, 1α,25(OH)2D3, which regulates cellular proliferation and differentiation, inhibits angiogenesis, and induces apoptosis, largely by activating vitamin D receptors, which control gene expression4 5 6. Also, vitamin D reduces angiogenesis around tumors and metastasis7.

Page last edited: 01 July 2011


  1. Kawa, S. Nikaido, T. Aoki, Y. Zhai, Y. Kumagai, T. Furihata, K. Fujii, S. Kiyosawa, K. Vitamin D analogues up-regulate p21 and p27 during growth inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell lines. Br J Cancer. 1997; 76 (7): 884-9.
  2. Pettersson, F. Colston, K. W. Dalgleish, A. G. Differential and antagonistic effects of 9-cis-retinoic acid and vitamin D analogues on pancreatic cancer cells in vitro. Br J Cancer. 2000 Jul; 83 (2): 239-45.
  3. Zugmaier, G. Jager, R. Grage, B. Gottardis, M. M. Havemann, K. Knabbe, C. Growth-inhibitory effects of vitamin D analogues and retinoids on human pancreatic cancer cells. Br J Cancer. 1996 Jun; 73 (11): 1341-6.
  4. Chiang, K. C. Chen, T. C. Vitamin D for the prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jul 21; 15 (27): 3349-54.
  5. Schwartz, G. G. Eads, D. Rao, A. Cramer, S. D. Willingham, M. C. Chen, T. C. Jamieson, D. P. Wang, L. Burnstein, K. L. Holick, M. F. Koumenis, C. Pancreatic cancer cells express 25-hydroxyvitamin D-1 alpha-hydroxylase and their proliferation is inhibited by the prohormone 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. Carcinogenesis. 2004 Jun; 25 (6): 1015-26.
  6. Skinner, H. G. Vitamin D for the treatment and prevention of pancreatic cancer. Cancer Biol Ther. 2008 Mar; 7 (3): 437-9.
  7. 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.