Chemoprevention of colon cancer by calcium, vitamin D and folate: molecular mechanisms

Nat Rev Cancer. 2003 Aug;3(8):601-14. doi: 10.1038/nrc1144.


Recent findings have indicated that dietary calcium, vitamin D and folate can modulate and inhibit colon carcinogenesis. Supporting evidence has been obtained from a wide variety of preclinical experimental studies, epidemiological findings and a few human clinical trials. Important molecular events and cellular actions of these micronutrients that contribute to their tumour-modulating effects are discussed. They include a complex series of signalling events that affect the structural and functional organization of colon cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Calcium, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Calcium, Dietary / therapeutic use
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Folic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Folic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D
  • Folic Acid