Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 1695–1700 | Cite as

Cu(II)–Vitamin D interaction leads to free radical-mediated cellular DNA damage: a novel putative mechanism for its selective cytotoxic action against malignant cells

  • Asim Rizvi
  • Sandesh Chibber
  • Imrana Naseem
Research Article


Vitamin D (vit D) is a known anticancer molecule, and cancer cells are reported to have elevated levels of Cu(II) ions. In this study, we show that interaction of vit D and Cu(II) leads to the formation of hydroxyl free radicals, superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide, which causes severe oxidative stress, selectively in malignant cells. We show that the production of these reactive oxygen species causes cellular DNA fragmentation which may cause cell death. A novel putative chemical mechanism explaining how vit D causes cell death by DNA damage, selectively in malignant cells, is proposed.


Vitamin D Cu(II) Pro-oxidant Reactive oxygen species Cancer 



AR is supported by UGC-CSIR Junior Research Fellowship from the Govt. of India. The authors are grateful to Prof. M. Mushfiq and Dr. Saltanat of Dept. of Chemistry, AMU, who helped work out the reaction mechanism. AR wishes to thanks Khursid Alam Khan (Dept of Wildlife Sciences, AMU) for his support while this work was in progress.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Life SciencesAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia
  2. 2.Section of Radiobiology, Department of RadiologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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