Verhoeff’s query: is vitamin D effective against retinoblastoma?

Daniel Albert // Publications // Apr 01 1988

PubMed ID: 3258514

Author(s): Albert DM, Saulenas AM, Cohen SM. Verhoeff’s query: is vitamin D effective against retinoblastoma? Arch Ophthalmol. 1988 Apr;106(4):536-40. PMID 3258514

Journal: Archives Of Ophthalmology (Chicago, Ill. : 1960), Volume 106, Issue 4, Apr 1988

In 1966, Verhoeff suggested that retinoblastomas might be sensitive to vitamin D because they sometimes undergo calcification and spontaneous regression. In recent years, the antineoplastic effect of vitamin D has been established in vitro and in vivo. This study presents evidence that vitamin D2 inhibits the growth of the human retinoblastoma cell line (Y-79) grown in athymic mice. In mice treated with ergocalciferol, the subcutaneous retinoblastomas were smaller and showed increased tumor necrosis and calcification. Unfortunately, the vitamin D caused significant toxic reactions. Further studies that reduce the toxicity of vitamin D will be needed before its use in children with retinoblastomas can be advocated. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of the activity of ergocalciferol against a tumor in vivo and it suggests that ergocalciferol or one of its derivatives may be an effective chemotherapeutic agent against retinoblastomas in humans.