Potential Molecular Mechanisms of the Anti-cancer Activity of Vitamin D

Anticancer Res. 2019 Jul;39(7):3353-3363. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.13478.


Vitamin D, or more precisely its active metabolite calcitriol (1,25-(OH)2D3), plays a fundamental role in bone metabolism and differentiation as well as in intestinal absorption of calcium and regulation of calcium-phosphate metabolism. Recent decades have brought about the discovery of the role of calcitriol in processes regulating cell differentiation, proliferation, angiogenesis and apoptosis. This creates the potential for numerous therapeutic applications of vitamin D in diseases associated with autoaggressive immune responses or in cancer. This study presents selected issues regarding current knowledge of the anti-cancer mechanisms of vitamin D.

Keywords: Vitamin D; antitumor effect; nVDR receptor; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / physiology
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamins / physiology*


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D