Calcitriol (1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3) is the most biologically active metabolite derived from the secosteroid
hormone vitamin D. Apart from its calcium homeostatic effects, epidemiological studies have shown that reduced serum
calcitriol levels are associated with an increased risk of some types of cancer. Numerous recent epidemiological and experimental
studies have reported that it elicits anti-proliferative, apoptotic and differentiation effects in several malignant
cell types. The inhibition of calcitriol results in reduced effects of anticancer drugs. Results from a number of clinical trials
revealed that sufficient dosing and exposure to calcitriol is critical for achieving antitumor effects during intermittent
regimens. This review summarizes the role of calcitriol in anticancer therapy and the progress in understanding its mechanism.
Keywords: Anti-proliferative, apoptosis, calcitriol, cancer prevention, chemotherapeutic agents, clinical trial, differentiation,
retinoblastoma, signaling pathways, VDR.
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