Skip to main content
An official website of the United States government
Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R01CA142879-05 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Epstein, Ervin
Organization: Children'S Hospital & Res Ctr At Oakland
Project Title: Vitamin D3 Inhibition of Hedgehog Signaling and Cancer Chemoprevention
Fiscal Year: 2014


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Our goal in this Project is the elucidation of the role of the recently described inhibition of hedghog signaling by vitamin D3 as a mechanism underlying latitudinal variation in cancer mortality. Such variation has been known for nearly 70 years, and a prime role for sunlight-produced vitamin D stores has been postulated to be the mechanistic connection for three decades. Nonetheless, definitive proof linking increased vitamin D stores and reduction in relative risk of cancer remains elusive. Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are an ideal tumor in which to study this connection since aberrant hedghog signaling is pivotal to their development and maintenance, there are epidemiologic findings consistent with a role of ultraviolet radiation not only in their genesis but also in their restraint, and formidable tools now are available for their study. We will integrate both laboratory mouse models and human samples to address this question. Specifically we (i) will compare the effects of topical vs. oral vitamin D3 on BCC carcinogenesis in Ptch1 mice in which Cyp27B1 can be conditionally deleted, thus building on our preliminary data indicating that hedghog inhibition by topical D3 inhibits experimental murine BCC carcinogensis (ii) will compare the relative proportions of BCCs that are resistant to vitamin D3 inhibtion in the North vs. in the South in expectation that the proportion of vitamin D3-resistant BCCs will be higher in patients exposed to more sunlight and (iii) will compare UV-induced vitamin D3 production in subjects who have had BCCs with such production in persons who have had skin squamous cell carcinomas. Overall we expect that these studies will provide data making a compelling case for the conducting of a formal human trial of the anti-basal cell carcinoma chemopreventive efficacy of topical vitamin D3 and will form the foundation and template for extending these studies into extra-cutaneous tumors such as those of the colon, for which evidence is good for both a latitudinal gradient and a pathophysiologic role for hedgehog signaling. This Study is particularly germane now because growing concern that Dermatologists' relentless recommendations for sun avoidance to prevent skin cancers may be increasing the relative risk of extracutaneous cancers and because of the gathering momentum to increase the recommended daily vitamin D intake for the enitire population in unproved hopes that oral vitamin D supplements will convert the cancer risk of Minnesotans to that of Arizonans. Thus there is urgent need for further investigation into the relation of vitamin D3 to cancer risk.


Ultraviolet Radiation Inhibits Mammary Carcinogenesis in an ER-Negative Murine Model by a Mechanism Independent of Vitamin D3.
Authors: Makarova A.M. , Frascari F. , Davari P. , Gorouhi F. , Dutt P. , Wang L. , Dhawan A. , Wang G. , Green J.E. , Epstein E.H. .
Source: Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.), 2018 Jul; 11(7), p. 383-392.
EPub date: 2018-04-10.
PMID: 29636351
Related Citations

Vitamin D3 Produced by Skin Exposure to UVR Inhibits Murine Basal Cell Carcinoma Carcinogenesis.
Authors: Makarova A. , Wang G. , Dolorito J.A. , Kc S. , Libove E. , Epstein E.H. .
Source: The Journal of investigative dermatology, 2017 Dec; 137(12), p. 2613-2619.
EPub date: 2017-07-31.
PMID: 28774592
Related Citations

Attenuation of UVR-induced vitamin D3 synthesis in a mouse model deleted for keratinocyte lathosterol 5-desaturase.
Authors: Makarova A.M. , Pasta S. , Watson G. , Shackleton C. , Epstein E.H. .
Source: The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology, 2017 Jul; 171, p. 187-194.
EPub date: 2017-03-19.
PMID: 28330720
Related Citations

Inverse association between serum 25(OH) vitamin D levels and non-melanoma skin cancer in elderly men.
Authors: Tang J.Y. , Parimi N. , Wu A. , Boscardin W.J. , Shikany J.M. , Chren M.M. , Cummings S.R. , Epstein E.H. , Bauer D.C. , Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study Group .
Source: Cancer causes & control : CCC, 2010 Mar; 21(3), p. 387-91.
PMID: 19921445
Related Citations

Back to Top