Prostate cancerHow does vitamin D work?

Vitamin D can reduce the risk of PCa by cell cycle arrest and induce apoptosis, although to a much lesser degree. Growth arrest is mediated by induction of IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), which in turn increases the expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p21, leading to growth arrest. Other actions of 1,25(OH)2D3 in PCa cells include promotion of pro-differentiation effects and inhibition of tumor cell invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis1.

The difference between the studies regarding UVB irradiance in youth and prediagnostic serum 25(OH)D levels in adulthood might be reconciled by a model in which vitamin D early in life helps prevent PCa through an antiproliferative and a differentiating action on cancer cells2, but that later in life, vitamin D has limited effect on progression of PCa, but does reduce the risk of metastasis.

Page last edited: 24 August 2011


  1. Krishnan, A. V. Peehl, D. M. Feldman, D. The role of vitamin D in prostate cancer. Recent Results Cancer Res. 2003; 164205-21.
  2. Skowronski, R. J. Peehl, D. M. Feldman, D. Vitamin D and prostate cancer: 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 receptors and actions in human prostate cancer cell lines. Endocrinology. 1993 May; 132 (5): 1952-60.