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Vitamin D receptor expression in colorectal cancer.
  1. M G Thomas,
  2. P A Sylvester,
  3. P Newcomb,
  4. R J Longman
  1. Academic Department of Surgery, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK.


    AIMS: To determine whether the vitamin D receptor is expressed in colorectal cancer, and its relation to stage of disease. METHODS: Paraffin embedded sections of colorectal cancer from 30 patients who had undergone surgery were studied. Immunohistochemistry using the specific monoclonal antibody 9A7 gamma directed against the nuclear vitamin D receptor was used to identify receptors for the active metabolite of vitamin D3 (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3). RESULTS: Microscopically normal human colorectal epithelium showed vitamin D receptor expression predominantly in the mid and upper crypts. All the colorectal cancer tissue studied showed vitamin D receptor expression, with a median of 25.3 (range 10.1 to 43.7) cells/graticule field (x 400). Although vitamin D receptor staining was heterogeneous within the individual cancers, neither Dukes stage nor the degree of differentiation appeared to influence expression of the receptor. CONCLUSIONS: Colorectal cancer tissue expresses the nuclear vitamin D receptor and this could act as a potential therapeutic target for synthetic vitamin D3 differentiating agents.

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