Role of vitamin D and vitamin D receptor (VDR) in oral cancer

Biomed Pharmacother. 2019 Jan:109:391-401. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2018.10.102. Epub 2018 Nov 3.


Oral cancer is known as one of the most common cancers, with a poor prognosis, related to delayed clinical diagnosis, either due to the lack of particular biomarkers related to the disease or costly therapeutic alternatives. Vitamin D executes its functions by interacting with the vitamin D receptor (VDR), both in healthy and diseased individuals, including oral cancer. This review discusses the role of vitamin D and VDR on tumorigenesis, emphasizing on oral cancer. Furthermore, regulation of VDR expression, mechanisms of anticancer effects of calcitriol, oral cancer chemoresistance and its relation with VDR and polymorphisms of VDR gene will be discussed. The manuscript is prepared mainly using the information collected from PubMed and MEDLINE.

Keywords: Oral cancer; VDR; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcitriol / administration & dosage
  • Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Calcium-Regulating Hormones and Agents / administration & dosage
  • Calcium-Regulating Hormones and Agents / metabolism
  • Carcinogenesis / drug effects
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mouth Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Mouth Neoplasms / genetics
  • Mouth Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / agonists
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / agonists
  • Vitamin D / genetics
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / genetics
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / metabolism


  • Calcium-Regulating Hormones and Agents
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • VDR protein, human
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcitriol