Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 31, Issue 2–3, pp 191–202 | Cite as

Vitamin D receptors in breast cancer cells

  • Robert R. Buras
  • Lisa M. Schumaker
  • Fatemeh Davoodi
  • Richard V. Brenner
  • Mohsen Shabahang
  • Russell J. Nauta
  • Stephen R. T. Evans


1,25-(OH)2-Vitamin D3, the active metabolite of vitamin D, is a secosteroid hormone with known differentiating activity in leukemic cells. Studies have demonstrated the presence of vitamin D receptors (VDR) in a wide range of tissues and cell types. Antiproliferative activity of 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin D3 has been documented in osteosarcoma, melanoma, colon carcinoma, and breast carcinoma cells. This study was designed to analyze vitamin D receptor level in breast cancer cells as a marker of differentiation and as a predictor of growth inhibition by 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin D3.

VDR messenger RNA was found to be present in relatively high levels in well-differentiated cells and in low levels in poorly differentiated cells. All cell lines had detectable VDR mRNA. Radiolabeled ligand binding assay showed a similar pattern. MCF-7 and T47D cells, which express VDR at moderate levels, showed significant growth inhibition by 10−9 M 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin D3 (p < 0.05). MDA-MB-231 cells, which have very low levels of VDR, demonstrated no growth inhibition by 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin D3 at concentrations up to 10−6 M. Based on these results it can be stated that VDR expression is lost with de-differentiation and that receptor is essential for the antiproliferative response to 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin D3.

Key words

cholecalciferol differentiation hormones receptors steroids 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert R. Buras
    • 1
  • Lisa M. Schumaker
    • 1
  • Fatemeh Davoodi
    • 1
  • Richard V. Brenner
    • 1
  • Mohsen Shabahang
    • 1
  • Russell J. Nauta
    • 1
  • Stephen R. T. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery and Lombardi Cancer Research CenterGeorgetown University Medical CenterWashington, DCUSA

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