Researchers at CIBER Cancer (CIBERONC) have described in one article the action of calcitriol in the stem cells of the colon. The alteration of these cells is crucial in the onset, progression and resistance to the treatment of colon cancer. It should be remembered that calcitriol is the active derivative of vitamin D that is generated in our body in the skin by solar action or that is ingested with the diet.
In fact, numerous epidemiological studies have shown the association of vitamin D deficiency with a higher incidence and mortality of various cancers, such as colorectal cancer. In the specific case of This studio, led by the Alberto Muñoz group of CIBERONC at the Alberto Sols Biomedical Research Institute, it has been shown that stem cells from healthy human colonic tissue express VDR, the vitamin D receptor.
In the words of the CIBERONC researcher, Antonio Barbáchano, “the results obtained show that calcitriol has a profound and different regulatory effect of gene expression and cell phenotype in the two types of organoids: it induces stem genes and maintains the undifferentiated cell phenotype in normal organoids, while promoting cell differentiation in tumors. ” In both types, in short, calcitriol reduces cell proliferation. ”
The importance of vitamin D
To reach this conclusion, the researchers have generated an organoid biobank from healthy and tumor tissue of 39 patients with colorectal cancer, and studied the effect of calcitriol on gene expression of normal and tumor stem cells (cancer stem cells). ).
This work demonstrates, therefore, the importance of vitamin D in homeostasis of the colon, which depends on the activity and renewal of stem cells, and their protective action on CRC. In this regard, Barbáchano indicates that “we have been in our group for 20 years studying the relationship between vitamin D and cancer with the highest incidence in Spain, which is colorectal. Research results indicate that calcitriol inhibits proliferation and invasiveness and promotes differentiation of colon carcinoma cells. In addition, our recent data show a protective effect of vitamin D acting on stromal fibroblasts isolated from patients with this type of cancer. The results now published show an additional protective effect against CRC acting on Cancer Stem Cells, ”concludes the expert.