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Cancer Channel
Reported July 10, 2009

Vitamin D3 fights colon cancer

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The active form of vitamin D3, essential to calcium absorption and bone health, also seems to have anticancer effects. To try and understand the underlying mechanisms, researchers set out to identify genes whose expression in a human colon cancer cell line was altered by the active form of vitamin D3. The researchers identified one gene which is responsible for making the protein cystatin D.

Now, another team of researchers at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, and the Universidad de Oviedo, Spain, has studied this protein in detail and has determined that it has the ability to suppress tumors and likely accounts for some of the anticancer effects of the active form of vitamin D3.

The team, led by Alberto Muñoz and Carlos López-Otín, initially established that the active form of vitamin D3 directly activates one of the genes (CST5) in the human colon cancer cell lines, increasing levels of the cystatin D protein. Functionally, cystatin D was shown to inhibit the growth of human colon cancer cells lines in vitro and also when they were transplanted into mice.

Since reducing expression of cystatin D in human colon cancer cell lines rendered them unresponsive to the suppressor effects of the active form of vitamin D3, the authors concluded that the CST5 gene is a candidate tumor suppressor gene and is responsible for a large proportion of the anticancer effects of the active form of vitamin D3.

These data provide rationale for commencing clinical trials examining the preventive and therapeutic potential of the active form of vitamin D3 in colon cancer.

SOURCE:  Journal of Clinical Investigation, July 6, 2009



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