Breast cancer stem cells are thought to have a critical role in the development and progression of cancer due to their tumor-initiating and drug resistance capabilities. A vitamin D compound was described to inhibit the transition from ductal carcinoma in situ to invasive ductal carcinoma in breast carcinogenesis. Here, a human breast cancer cell line and a breast epithelial cell line were used to elucidate the influence of vitamin D compounds on breast cancer stem cells. The results show that these compounds could reduce the subpopulation of breast cancer stem cells in treated human breast cancer cells. Moreover, they also induced non-cancerous cell behaviour when treating the same cells to form mammospheres and the mammosphere forming sphere was significantly reduced. Also, these compounds could inhibit the expression of certain markers related to stem cell-like phenotypes. Overall, the researchers demonstrate that vitamin D compounds could modulate breast cancer stem cell subpopulations and potentially hinder breast cancer progression.
Vitamin D compounds reduce mammosphere formation and decrease expression of putative stem cell markers in breast cancer
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