SNAIL vs vitamin D receptor expression in colon cancer: therapeutics implications

Br J Cancer. 2005 Mar 28;92(6):985-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602484.


Vitamin D analogues with reduced hypercalcemic activity are under clinical investigation for use against colon cancer and other neoplasias. However, only a subset of patients responds to this therapy, most probably due to loss of vitamin D receptor (VDR) expression during tumour progression. Recent data show that SNAIL transcription factor represses VDR expression, and thus abolishes the antiproliferative and prodifferentiation effects of VDR ligands in cultured cancer cells and their antitumour action in xenografted mice. Accordingly, upregulation of SNAIL in human colon tumours associates with downregulation of VDR. These findings suggest that SNAIL may be associated with loss of responsiveness to vitamin D analogues and may thus be used as an indicator of patients who are unlikely to respond to this therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Calcitriol / biosynthesis
  • Calcitriol / pharmacology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / analysis
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors / analysis
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • Calcitriol