Expression of vitamin D receptor in lung cancer

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 1996;122(6):356-9. doi: 10.1007/BF01220803.


The active metabolite of vitamin D 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol is a hormone-like agent that regulates cell differentiation and proliferation. Various vitamin D derivatives have been shown to induce differentiation in neoplastic cells. The prerequisite for any hormone action is the presence of its receptor. We studied the expression of vitamin D receptor in human lung cancer cell lines and in primary lung cancer tissue. Employing the polymerase chain reaction, 10 out of 11 cell lines stemming from small-cell lung cancer and 15 out of 15 cell lines stemming from non-small-cell lung cancer demonstrated vitamin D receptor expression. An immunohistochemical analysis, using a specific monoclonal antibody, demonstrated vitamin D receptor protein expression in 31 out of 117 (26%) primary small-cell lung cancer cases tested. Positive cells exhibited a nuclear reaction pattern. Twenty-one out of 37 primary non-small-cell lung cancer cases, particularly adenocarcinomas (9/14) and squamous-cell carcinomas (10/15), exhibited vitamin D receptor. Results indicate that a subset of lung cancer cases may be susceptible to the differentiating effects of vitamin D analogues.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / ultrastructure*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung / ultrastructure
  • Lung Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / analysis*
  • Reference Values
  • Skin / ultrastructure
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Receptors, Calcitriol