Background: Vitamin D has a widely acknowledged role in regulating the metabolism of calcium
and phosphate, both essential to bone remodeling. However, numerous studies in recent decades have emphasized
the association between low sun exposure and vitamin D deficiency, and an increased risk of extra-skeletal
disorders such as cancer.
Objective: This mini-review of literature aims to present an objective overview of several recent studies and meta-
analyses evaluating the role of vitamin D in cancer prevention, its potential to improve cancer treatment outcomes,
as well as the negative effects of vitamin D deficiencies.
Methods: The antitumor effects of calcitriol and analogs in the treatment of cancer, either as single agent or in
combination with other anticancer agents, are based on several mechanisms: inhibition of cancer cell proliferation
and invasiveness, induction of differentiation and apoptosis, and promotion of angiogenesis, all recorded in
numerous preclinical studies of various cancer types.
Results: The importance of VDR polymorphisms for individual malignancies remains a topic of debate. Contradictory
effects have been recorded in recent studies, the results of which include positive associations of VDR
when cumulated with other risk factors, both an increase and a decrease in cancer risks, as well as no correlation
between VDR polymorphisms and individual malignancies.
Conclusion: The scientific evidence reviewed in this paper suggests that health care providers and individuals
should consider increasing concentrations of 25 (OH) D through sensitive sun exposure and / or by supplementing
with vitamin D to reduce cancer risk and, in combination with standard care, to treat cancer.