Vitamin D in melanoma: Controversies and potential role in combination with immune check-point inhibitors

Cancer Treat Rev. 2018 Sep:69:21-28. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2018.05.016. Epub 2018 May 31.


The role of vitamin D in melanoma is still controversial. Although several Authors described a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and poor survival in metastatic melanoma patients, clinical trials exploring the effects of vitamin D supplementation in this clinical setting were mostly inconclusive. However, recent evidence suggests that vitamin D exerts both anti-proliferative effects on tumor cells and immune-modulating activities, that have been widely explored in auto-immune disorders. On the one hand, vitamin D has been shown to inhibit T-helper17 lymphocytes, notoriously involved in the pathogenesis of immune-related adverse events (iAEs) which complicate immune-checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) treatment. On the other hand, vitamin D up-regulates PDL-1 expression on both epithelial and immune cells, suggesting a synergic effect in combination with ICIs, for which further investigation is needed.

Keywords: Immune check-point inhibitors; Immune related adverse events; Melanoma; PDL-1; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • B7-H1 Antigen / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • CTLA-4 Antigen / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • CD274 protein, human
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Vitamin D