Sensitive induction of apoptosis in breast cancer cells by a novel 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 analogue shows relation to promoter selectivity

J Cell Biochem. 1997 Sep 15;66(4):552-62. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-4644(19970915)66:4<552::aid-jcb14>;2-d.


The biologically active form of vitamin D3, the nuclear hormone 1 alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (VD), is an important regulator of cellular growth, differentiation, and death. The hormone mediates its action through the activation of the transcription factor VDR, which is a member of the superfamily of nuclear receptors. In most cases the ligand-activated VDR is found in complex with the retinoid X receptor (RXR) and stimulates gene transcription mainly from VD response elements (VDREs) that are formed by two hexameric core binding motifs and are arranged either as a direct repeat spaced by three nucleotides (DR3) or as an inverted palindrome spaced by nine nucleotides (1P9). The two VD analogues CB1093 and EB1089 are both very potent inhibitors of the proliferation of MCF-7 cultured breast cancer cells displaying approximately 100-fold lower IC50 values (0.1 nM) than the natural hormone. In addition, CB1093 is even more potent in vivo than EB1089 in producing regression of experimental mammary tumors. Moreover, both VD analogues induce apoptosis in MCF-7 cells, but CB1093 is effective at concentrations approximately 10-fold lower than EB1089. In accordance, the reduction of Bcl-2 protein expression showed CB1093 to be more potent than EB1089. This suggests that the antiproliferative effect of CB1093 may be related mainly to its apoptosis inducing effect, whereas EB1089 may preferentially have effects on growth arrest. EB1089 is known to result in a selectivity for the activation of IP9-type VDREs, whereas CB1093 shows a preference for the activation of DR3-type VDREs. This promoter selectivity suggests that the effects of VD and its analogues on growth arrest and the induction of apoptosis may be mediated by different primary VD responding genes. In conclusion, CB1093 was found to be a potent inhibitor of rat mammary tumor growth in vivo. CB1093 also displayed a high potency in vitro in the induction of apoptosis, a process that may be linked to a promoter selectivity for DR3-type VDREs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Calcitriol / administration & dosage
  • Calcitriol / analogs & derivatives
  • Calcitriol / chemistry
  • Calcitriol / pharmacology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / drug effects
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • CB 1093
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Calcitriol
  • seocalcitol
  • Calcium