Vitamin D makes melanoma less aggressive

Vitamin D makes melanoma less aggressive

Vitamin D influences the behaviour of a signalling pathway in melanoma cells, slowing down their growth and ability to spread; increases in vitamin D receptor signalling were shown to stop melanoma spreading to the lungs in mice.

Researchers from the University of Leeds in the UK, looked at a Vitamin D receptor (VDR) on the surface of melanoma cells (1).

It was already known that melanoma patients with low levels of vitamin D in their bodies had lowered survival and worse outcomes. But this study looked at what processes in a melanoma cell were being regulated by vitamin D in the cells, why there are lowered levels of VDR on the surface of some cells and if this was linked to more aggressive tumours.
 
Professor Julia Newton-Bishop and her team first looked at the activity of the gene that makes VDR. Taking 703 human melanoma tumours, the researchers compared their biochemistry with 353 human melanoma tumours that had spread away from the primary.

The activity of the VDR gene was then cross-referenced with other patient characteristics, such as the thickness of the tumour and how fast the tumour grew.

The team found that it wasn’t just lowered plasma levels of vitamin D that made the tumour grow faster, it was lowered levels of the receptor on the surface. They found that tumours with lowered VDR were linked to lowered activity of immune system genes, and higher levels of genes that are linked to increased cancer growth and metastases. These gene changes were all linked to the Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway, which acted as a control on all the other genes. Normally this controller gene regulates cell growth. The more VDR, the better the performance of this controller gene, and in mice experiments the less metastasis to the lungs.

Professor Newton-Bishop said: "After years of research, we finally know how vitamin D works with VDR to influence the behaviour of melanoma cells by reducing activity of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. We know when the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is active in melanoma, it can dampen down the immune response causing fewer immune cells to reach the inside of the tumour, where they could potentially fight the cancer better. But what's really intriguing, is that we can now see how vitamin D might help the immune system fight cancer.”

Chris Woollams added, “I understand that at St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, London, their research shows 93 per cent of people on diagnosis with melanoma are deficient in vitamin D. If Cancer Research had paid more attention to the importance of this crucial vitamin over the years, there would have been far less deaths from cancer. Fact. In 2010 it was shown for example, that there are receptor sites for vitamin D on your attacker T-cells in your immune system. A lack of vitamin D was shown more than a decade ago to render your immune system inactive.

Professor Michael Holick of Boston Medical School, who has 25 years of vitamin D research behind him, along with the Endocrine Society, Harvard Health and I, have all argued - based on so very many research studies now - that a healthy level of vitamin D is between 100 and 150 nmol/L. Yet still most UK Hospitals are clueless.

People with cancer need to get up to this level fast. Holick recommends 125 mcg of vitamin D a day. Even for bone health, American Bone Health, the top Website talks of 50 mcg a day as we age. The NHS still recommends just 10 mcg. A lack of vitamin D has been a crucial issue in Covid-19 deaths too.

Go to: Vitamin D? Shout 1 2 ..... 5.

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References

  1. Vitamin D dials down theaggression in melanoma cells

 


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