Androgen receptor and vitamin D receptor in human ovarian cancer: growth stimulation and inhibition by ligands

Int J Cancer. 2000 Apr 1;86(1):40-6. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(20000401)86:1<40::aid-ijc6>;2-e.


The data suggest that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] and androgens are essential for regulation of growth and differentiation in, e.g., human reproductive tissues. We investigated the possible cross-talk between 1,25(OH)2D3 and androgens in the human ovarian cancer cell line OVCAR-3. Our data demonstrate that 1,25(OH)2D3 and androgen (dihydrotestosterone, DHT) regulate the growth of OVCAR-3 cells. Nine days' treatment of OVCAR-3 cells with 100 nM DHT resulted in 48% stimulation of growth, whereas growth inhibition (73%) was observed after treatment with 100 nM 1,25(OH)2D3. The combination of 1,25(OH)2D3 and DHT showed that 1,25(OH)2D3 clearly reduces the growth-stimulatory effect of DHT on OVCAR-3 cells. Moreover, Western blot analysis revealed that these cells contain receptors for 1,25(OH)2D3 (VDR) and androgen (AR). Expression of VDR and AR was up-regulated by their cognate ligands. Up-regulation of AR by 1,25(OH)2D3 and of VDR by DHT provides evidence of cross-talk between 2 signaling pathways in OVCAR-3 cells. We also studied the immuno-histochemical distribution of VDRs and ARs in rat ovaries and human ovarian cancer cases. In rat ovaries, VDRs were observed mainly in granulosa and theca cells and ARs in granulosa cells and surface epithelium. In the human ovarian cancer cases studied, 43% were VDR-positive and 64% AR-positive. Combining the results suggests that the growth of ovarian tissue might be regulated by 1,25(OH)2D3 and androgen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists*
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Calcitriol / pharmacology*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Dihydrotestosterone / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Androgen / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology*
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / physiology*
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Calcitriol