The Vitamin D Receptor, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, and Colon Cancer

Curr Colorectal Cancer Rep. 2012 Mar 1;8(1):57-65. doi: 10.1007/s11888-011-0114-1.


The nuclear receptor is an emerging therapeutic target in various human diseases. Vitamin D receptor (VDR), a nuclear receptor, mediates the biological functions of vitamin D. Classically, vitamin D is recognized as an essential contributor to mineral and bone homeostasis. Increasing evidence demonstrates that vitamin D is involved in inflammatory responses. Persistent intestinal inflammation is associated with colon cancer. This review focuses on vitamin D and VDR in inflammatory bowel diseases and colon cancer. We place emphasis on the regulatory roles of vitamin D/VDR on in inflammation, enteric bacteria, and tumorigenesis. We summarize the signaling pathways regulated by VDR in intestinal homeostasis. Finally, we discuss the potential application of the insights gleaned from these findings to personalized therapies in chronic inflammation and colon cancer.

Keywords: Colon cancer; IBD; Vitamin D receptor; enteric bacteria; gut flora; inflammation; microbiome; nuclear receptor; vitamin D.