Calcitriol enhances gemcitabine anti-tumor activity in vitro and in vivo by promoting apoptosis in a human pancreatic carcinoma model system

Published on Tuesday, 29 August 2017


Gemcitabine is the standard care chemotherapeutic agent to treat pancreatic cancer.

Previously we demonstrated that calcitriol (1, 25-dihydroxycholecalciferol) has significant anti-proliferative effects in vitro and in vivo in multiple tumor models and enhances the activity of a variety of chemotherapeutic agents.

We therefore investigated whether calcitriol could potentiate the cytotoxic activity of gemcitabine in the human pancreatic cancer Capan-1 model system. Isobologram analysis revealed that calcitriol and gemcitabine had synergistic antiproliferative effect over a wide range of drug concentrations. Calcitriol did not reduce the cytidine deaminase activity in Capan-1 tumors nor in the livers of Capan-1 tumor bearing mice.

Calcitriol and gemcitabine combination promoted apoptosis in Capan-1 cells compared with either agent alone. The combination treatment also increased the activation of caspases-8, -9, -6 and -3 in Capan-1 cells. This result was confirmed by substrate-based caspase activity assay. Akt phosphorylation was reduced by calcitriol and gemcitabine combination treatment compared to single agent treatment. However, ERK1/2 phosphorylation was not modulated by either agent alone or by the combination.

Tumor regrowth delay studies showed that calcitriol in combination with gemcitabine resulted in a significant reduction of Capan-1 tumor volume compared to single agent treatment.

Our study suggests that calcitriol and gemcitabine in combination promotes caspase-dependent apoptosis, which may contribute to increased anti-tumor activity compared to either agent alone.



About this publication.


See also:

- Vitamin D (analogues and/or derivatives) and cancer;

- Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: clinical records on 17 patients treated with Di Bella's Method;

- The Di Bella Method Increases by the 30% the survival rate for Pancreas tumors and for this reason should be proposed as first line therapy for this type of cancer;

- The Di Bella Method (DBM) in the treatment of prostate cancer: a preliminary retrospective study of 16 patients and a review of the literature;

- A case of advanced Multiple Myeloma treated with Di Bella Method (DBM) into total remission for 13 years;

- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Long-Lasting Remission with Combination of Cyclophosphamide, Somatostatin, Bromocriptine, Retinoids, Melatonin, and ACTH;

- Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of the first-line treatment with somatostatin combined with melatonisn, retinoids, vitamin D3, and low doses of cyclophosphamide in 20 cases of breast cancer: a preliminary report;

- The Di Bella Method (DBM) improved survival, objective response and performance status in a retrospective observational clinical study on 122 cases of breast cancer;

- Complete objective response to biological therapy of plurifocal breast carcinoma.