The role of vitamin D in ovarian cancer: epidemiology, molecular mechanism and prevention

J Ovarian Res. 2018 Aug 29;11(1):71. doi: 10.1186/s13048-018-0443-7.


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble prohormone best known for its role in maintaining calcium homeostasis. Large numbers of epidemiological studies have shown that vitamin D plays an important role in cancer prevention by regulating cellular proliferation and metabolism. Studies of the cellular mechanism of vitamin D in ovarian cancer strongly suggest that it exhibits protective and antitumorigenic activities through genomic and nongenomic signal transduction pathways. These results indicate that vitamin D deficiency results in an increase in the risk of developing ovarian cancer and that vitamin supplements may potentially be an efficient way of preventing cancer. Consequently, this review describes the epidemiology, molecular mechanism and evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to ovarian cancer.

Keywords: 1,25(oh)2D3; Angiogenesis; Inflammatory; Metastasis; Ovarian cancer; Prevention; Tumor metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D