The anticancer effects of vitamin K

Altern Med Rev. 2003 Aug;8(3):303-18.


Vitamin K, an essential nutrient often associated with the clotting cascade, has been the focus of considerable research demonstrating an anticancer potential. Much of this research has focused on vitamin K3, although vitamins K2 and K1 have also been shown to have anticancer effects. Early studies of vitamin K3 employed an oxidative model to explain the anticancer effects seen in both in vitro and in vivo studies; however, this model does not adequately address the action of vitamins K1 and K2. Recent research has demonstrated the anticancer action of vitamin K may act at the level of tyrosine kinases and phosphatases, modulating various transcription factors such as Myc and Fos. Tyrosine kinases associated with cyclins have also been shown to be affected by vitamin K, which can lead to cell cycle arrest and cell death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Rats
  • Transcription Factors / drug effects
  • Vitamin K / physiology
  • Vitamin K / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin K 1 / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin K 2 / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin K 3 / therapeutic use


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Transcription Factors
  • Vitamin K 2
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin K 3
  • Vitamin K 1