Vitamin D has been widely used as a dietary supplement for the prevention and
treatment of bone disorders. Epidemiological and preclinical studies demonstrated the anticancer
action of vitamin D in a variety of cancers including those in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
In these studies the inhibitory action of vitamin D on cancer stem cells (CSCs) has been a focus
and is also an important subject to revolutionize the therapeutic potential of vitamin D on
cancer treatment. Here, we summarize the involvement of CSC markers and factors and also
their signaling pathways in the development of cancers in the esophagus, stomach, colon, pancreas
and also liver. It is also evidenced that vitamin D could inhibit these markers and factors
and their related signaling pathways to suppress tumor progression. All these information
could provide new strategies in repurposing vitamin D as therapeutic agent to inhibit cancers
in the GI tract.
Keywords: Vitamin D, gastrointestinal cancer, cancer stem cells, cancer stem cell markers, cancer microenvironment.
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