Vitamin D can affect a colon cancer cell by adjusting everything from its gene expression to its cytoskeleton. Recent research shows that one pathway governs the vitamin’s diverse effects, a result which helps to clarify the actions of a molecule that is undergoing clinical trials as a cancer therapy.
Vitamin D stymies colon cancer cells in two ways — it switches on certain genes, and it induces effects on the cytoskeleton. The net result is to curb cell division and cause colon cancer cells to differentiate into epithelial cells that settle down instead of spreading.
The recent study is the first to show that vitamin D’s genomic and nongenomic effects use one simultaneous pathway and integrate to regulate cell physiology.