The Vitamin D Receptor

A Tumor Suppressor in Skin
  • Daniel D. BikleEmail author


Cutaneous malignancies including melanomas and non melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) are the most common types of cancer, occurring at a rate of over 1 million per year in the United States. The major cell in the epidermis, the keratinocyte, not only produces vitamin D but contains the enzymatic machinery to metabolize vitamin D to its active metabolite, l,25(OH)2D, and expresses the receptor for this metabolite, the vitamin D receptor (VDR), allowing the cell to respond to the l,25(OH)2D that it produces. In vitro, l,25(OH)2D stimulates the differentiation and inhibits the proliferation of these cells and so would be expected to be tumor suppressive. However, epidemiologic evidence demonstrating a negative relationship between circulating levels of the substrate for CYP27B1, 250HD, and the incidence of these malignancies is mixed, raising the question whether vitamin D is protective in the in vivo setting. UV radiation (UV), both UVB and UVA, as occurs with sunlight exposure is generally regarded as causal for these malignancies, but UVB is also required for vitamin D synthesis in the skin. This complicates conclusions reached from epidemiologic studies in that UVB is associated with higher 250HD levels as well as increased incidence of cutaneous malignancies. Based on our own data and that reported in the literature we hypothesize that vitamin D signaling in the skin suppresses UVR induced epidermal tumor formation. In this chapter we will flrst discuss recent data regarding potential mechanisms by which vitamin D signaling suppresses tumor formation, then focus on three general mechanisms that mediate tumor suppression by VDR in the skin: inhibition of proliferation and stimulation of differentiation, immune regulation, and stimulation of DNA damage repair (DDR).


Skin Cancer Basal Cell Carcinoma Nucleotide Excision Repair Other Hand Keratinocyte Differentiation 
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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media, LCC 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine and DermatologyVA Medical Center and University of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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