Vitamin D and prostate cancer prevention and treatment

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Nov;14(9):423-30. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2003.09.004.


Human prostate cells contain receptors for 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, the active form of vitamin D. Prostate cancer cells respond to vitamin D(3) with increases in differentiation and apoptosis, and decreases in proliferation, invasiveness and metastasis. These findings strongly support the use of vitamin D-based therapies for prostate cancer and/or as a second-line therapy if androgen deprivation fails. The association between either decreased sun exposure or vitamin D deficiency and the increased risk of prostate cancer at an earlier age, and with a more aggressive progression, indicates that adequate vitamin D nutrition should be a priority for men of all ages. Here we summarize recent advances in epidemiological and biochemical studies of the endocrine and autocrine systems associated with vitamin D and their implications for prostate cancer and in the evaluation of vitamin D(3) and its analogs in preventing and/or treating prostate cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cholecalciferol / therapeutic use
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / physiology
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Steroid Hydroxylases