Role of local bioactivation of vitamin D by CYP27A1 and CYP2R1 in the control of cell growth in normal endometrium and endometrial carcinoma

Laura Bergadà, Judit Pallares, Maria Vittoria Arcidiacono, Anna Cardus, Maria Santacana, Joan Valls, Gonzalo Cao, Elvira Fernàndez, Xavier Dolcet, Adriana S. Dusso, Xavier Matias-Guiu

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28 Scopus citations


Vitamin D (VD) deficiency has been suggested as a risk factor for cancer. One recognized mechanism is that the low-serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) of VD deficiency reduces intratumoral 25(OH)D conversion to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25D, the hormonal form of VD), compromising 1,25D-VD receptor (VDR) antitumoral actions. Reduced tumoral VDR and increased CYP24A1, the enzyme that degrades 1,25D and 25(OH)D, further worsen cancer progression. Importantly, in cells expressing CYP27A1 and/or CYP2R1, which convert inert VD into 25(OH)D, low-serum VD may reduce intratumoral 25(OH)D synthesis thereby compromising VDR antitumoral actions because 25(OH)D can activate the VDR directly and enhance 1,25D-VDR action. Therefore, this study examined whether abnormal endometrial expression of CYP27A1 and/or CYP2R1 may impair VDR-antiproliferative properties in endometrial carcinoma (EC). Immunohistochemical analysis of tissue microarrays of normal human endometrium (NE; n=60) and EC (n=157) showed the expected lower VDR expression in EC (P=0.0002). Instead, CYP24A1 expression was lower in EC compared with NE, while CYP27A1 and CYP2R1 expressions were higher (P=0.0002; P=0.03). Furthermore, in NE and EC, CYP2R1 and CYP27A1 expression correlated directly with nuclear VDR levels, an indicator of ligand-induced VDR activation, and inversely with the proliferation marker Ki67. Accordingly, in the endometrioid carcinoma cell lines IK, RL95/2 and HEC1-A, which express VDR, CYP27A1, and CYP2R1, VD efficaciously reduced cell viability and colony number, with a time course that paralleled actual increases in both intracellular 25(OH)D and nuclear VDR levels. Thus, VD may protect from EC progression in part through increased intratumoral 25(OH)D production by CYP27A1 and CYP2R1 for autocrine/paracrine enhancement of 1,25D-VDR-antiproliferative actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-622
Number of pages15
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • VDR agonists
  • calcifediol
  • cyp24A1
  • vitamin D receptor


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