The Vitamin D Receptor as Tumor Suppressor in Skin

Daniel D Bikle
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 2020, 1268: 285-306
Cutaneous malignancies including melanomas and keratinocyte carcinomas (KC) are the most common types of cancer, occurring at a rate of over one million per year in the United States. KC, which include both basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, are substantially more common than melanomas and form the subject of this chapter. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR), both UVB and UVA, as occurs with sunlight exposure is generally regarded as causal for these malignancies, but UVB is also required for vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Keratinocytes are the major cell in the epidermis. These cells not only produce vitamin D but contain the enzymatic machinery to metabolize vitamin D to its active metabolite, 1,25(OH)2 D, and express the receptor for this metabolite, the vitamin D receptor (VDR). This allows the cell to respond to the 1,25(OH)2 D that it produces. Based on our own data and that reported in the literature, we conclude that vitamin D signaling in the skin suppresses UVR-induced epidermal tumor formation. In this chapter we focus on four mechanisms by which vitamin D signaling suppresses tumor formation. They are inhibition of proliferation/stimulation of differentiation with discussion of the roles of hedgehog, Wnt/β-catenin, and hyaluronan/CD44 pathways in mediating vitamin D regulation of proliferation/differentiation, regulation of the balance between oncogenic and tumor suppressor long noncoding RNAs, immune regulation, and promotion of DNA damage repair (DDR).

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