Vitamin D may slow pre-cancer growths, find researchers

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Vitamin D may help to battle cancers by blocking cell growth and slowing the progression of pre-malignant to malignant states, say researchers.

The team of Canadian researchers said the newly discovered mechanism provides a molecular basis for the potential cancer preventive effects of vitamin D.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), ​the authors report that the active form of vitamin D acts to block cancer formation by several mechanisms that inhibit both the production and function of a specific protein required for cell division (known as cMYC).

Led by Professor John White, the research team explained that cMYC drives cell division and is active at elevated levels in more than half of all cancers, however, the new findings suggest vitamin D alter this situation.

"We discovered that vitamin D controls both the rate of production and the degradation of cMYC,”​ said White.

“More importantly, we found that vitamin D strongly stimulates the production of a natural antagonist of cMYC called MXD1, essentially shutting down cMYC function,”​ he said.

The team said vitamin D acts to suppress the expression of genes regulated by c-MYC and enhanced MXD1 expression and stability, “dramatically altering ratios of DNA-bound c-MYC and MXD1.”

"Our results show that vitamin D puts the brakes on cMYC function, suggesting that it may slow the progression of cells from premalignant to malignant states and keep their proliferation in check,”​ said White.

We hope that our research will encourage people to maintain adequate vitamin D supplementation and will stimulate the development of large, well-controlled cancer chemoprevention trials to test the effects of adequate supplementation,"​ he added.

Source: PNAS
Published online, open access, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1210037109
“Vitamin D receptor as a master regulator of the c-MYC/MXD1 network”
Authors: Reyhaneh Salehi-Tabar, Loan Nguyen-Yamamoto, Luz E. Tavera-Mendoza, Thomas Quail, et al

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1 comment

Vitamin D

Posted by Lauren,

This is great to see yet another positive article on vitamin D. The message needs to get out there, it's vital to people's health. I just can't wait until I see the article urging people to go out in the sun to get their vitamin D because it's the best source for it. Vitamin D levels are at an all time low among Americans and Canadians and I feel it has a lot to do with the whole sun scare started by dermatologists and sunscreen companies. In the end those two are not concerned about your health, all they're doing is hurting you by urging you to stay out of the sun unless you slather yourself with sunscreen multiple times a day. Vitamin D is on almost every cell of your body, you need it to stay healthy, just like you need the sun. Connect the dots people.

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