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Clinical Trials Using Chemopreventive Vitamin D Analogs in Breast Cancer

Vijayakumar, Srinivasan MD, DMRT, FACR, Professora; Boerner, Philip S. MA, Research Associatea; Mehta, Rajeshwari R. PhD, Associate Professorb; Packianathan, S. MD, PhD, Resident Physicianc; Mehta, Rajendra G. PhD, Professord; Das Gupta, Tapas K. PhD, Professorb


This article comprehensively reviews the clinical trials and considers the future directions of the use of vitamin D and its analogs in the treatment or chemoprevention of breast cancer. Chemopreventive treatment strategies strive to delay the onset of certain cancers, prevent the progression of malignant disease after diagnosis, or delay the advent of recurrence after curative treatment. We first summarize the epidemiological evidence that led to the hypothesis that vitamin D may have an anti-cancer activity. Vitamin D shows great potential as a therapy for breast cancer; however, its use in clinical trials has been hindered by the induction of hypercalcemia at a concentration required to suppress cancer cell proliferation. This has led to the development of less calcemic analogs of vitamin D. We review the clinical trials with breast cancer patients using vitamin D analogs.

aDepartment of Radiation Oncology, UC Davis Cancer Center, Sacramento, California

bDepartment of Surgical Oncology, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois

cDepartment of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic–Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida

dCarcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Division, ITT Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois.

Reprint requests: Srinivasan Vijayakumar, MD, DMRT, FACR, Professor and Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Davis Cancer Center, 4501 X Street, G140, Sacramento, CA 95817. E-mail:

No benefits in any form have been or will be accepted from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

Supported in part by DOD Grant No: DAMD17-02-1-0070, HSRRB Log No. A-11241 to SV.

Received on July 25, 2006; accepted for publication September 6, 2006.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.