[Vitamin D anti-cancer activities: observations, doubts and certainties]

Rev Med Liege. 2015 Oct;70(10):495-500.
[Article in French]


The importance of vitamin D in bone and phosphocalcic status is well recognized by the scientific and medical communities; however, recently identified properties of this cholesterol derived molecule, such as immunomodulator and anticancer activities, are yet discussed. Actually, the debate is not so much about the new vitamin D properties, but rather about the optimal concentration required to reach these properties. The difficulty in determining the norms is rendered even more complex by the existence of a vitamin D receptor gene polymorphism. The body pool of this vitamin depends essentially on its endogenous synthesis, but also on its dietary intakes. Many epidemiological studies interested in Vitamin D serum level and cancer suggest a relation between low Vitamin D level and cancer risk, especially in breast and colon adenocarcinomas. In vitro, many studies showed, in different human and animal malignant cell lines, that this molecule exerts anticancer activities: it induces apoptosis and cell differentiation as well as it inhibits proliferation and angiogenesis. This review tries to update the current knowledge on vitamin D and, more particularly, the potential interest of this molecule in cancer prevention and management.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D