Vitamin D3 analogs: effect on leukemic clonal growth and differentiation, and on serum calcium levels

Leuk Res. 1995 Jan;19(1):65-72. doi: 10.1016/0145-2126(94)00065-i.


In vitro, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) induces differentiation of HL-60 cells and inhibits their proliferation as well as the proliferation of leukemic cells from patients. In vivo, the survival of mice challenged with syngeneic leukemic cells is enhanced by treatment with 1,25(OH)2D3. Patients treated with 1,25(OH)2D3 develop hypercalcemia at a serum level of 2 x 10(-10) mol/l which is a concentration too low to achieve an antileukemic effect in vitro. Several interesting vitamin D3 analogs have recently been developed. We initially examined the effect of 1,25(OH)2-16ene-23yne-19-nor-26,27-F6-D3 and 24a,26a,27a-tri-homo-22,24-diene-1-alpha,25-(OH)2-D3 on clonal growth and differentiation of HL-60 cells. Each of the analogs had comparable effects on clonal growth with 50% inhibition (ED50) at concentrations of 0.2-0.5 x 10(-9) M; 1,25(OH)2D3 was about 20- to 50-fold less active in inhibiting growth. Differentiation was determined by induction of superoxide production, as measured by nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction and by expression of a macrophage-specific enzyme (alpha napthyl acetate esterase (ANAE)). The 24a,26a,27a-tri-homo-22,24-diene-1-alpha,25-(OH)2-D3 and 1,25(OH)2-16ene-23yne-19-nor-26,27-F6-D3 were about 5- to 14-fold more potent than 1,25(OH)2D3. The hypercalcemia inducing side-effects of these analogs and three other previously identified, extremely potent vitamin D3 compounds, as well as 1,25(OH)2D3, were studied. The analogs were administered intraperitoneally every other day (qod) for 5 weeks; serum was collected weekly and Ca2+ measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The highest tolerated dose of each analog leaving all mice alive was for 1,25(OH)2D3: 0.25 micrograms; 1,25(OH)2-24a,26a,27a-tri-homo-22,24-diene-D3: 0.25 micrograms; and 1,25(OH)2-16ene-23yne-19-nor-26,27-F6-D3: 0.0625 micrograms. Another hexafluoro compound with potent abilities to induce differentiation (1,25(OH)2-16ene-23yne-26,27-F6-D3) was very toxic, all mice died in the second week while receiving 0.0625 micrograms qod. Prior studies showed that the most potent compound in inducing differentiation of HL-60 was 1,25(OH)2-20-epi-D3; but it is very toxic as only one mouse survived a dose of > or = 0.0125 micrograms qod for 5 weeks. 1,25(OH)2-16ene-23yne-D3 is an extremely active inducer of differentiation but, on the other hand, it has low potential to produce hypercalcemia; mice maintained normal serum calcium levels even while receiving 2 micrograms qod for 5 weeks.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Calcium / blood*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cholecalciferol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cholecalciferol / pharmacology
  • Cholecalciferol / toxicity
  • Clone Cells / cytology
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / chemically induced
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Cholecalciferol
  • Calcium