Long-term vitamin D treatment decreases human uterine leiomyoma size in a xenograft animal model

Vitamin D short-term treatment maintains human leiomyoma size in a xenograft model, and long term significantly reduces it by inhibiting proliferation and increasing extracellular matrix degradation and apoptosis without side-effects.

Volume 113, Issue 1, Pages 205–216.e4


Ana Corachán, M.Sc., Hortensia Ferrero, Ph.D., Julia Escrig, M.D., Javier Monleon, M.D., Ph.D., Amparo Faus, B.Sc., Irene Cervelló, Ph.D., Antonio Pellicer, M.D., Ph.D.



To study the effects of short- and long-term vitamin D treatment on uterine leiomyomas in vivo through cell proliferation, extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation, and apoptosis.


Preclinical study of human leiomyoma treatment with vitamin D in an nonhuman animal model.


Hospital and university laboratories.


Human leiomyomas were collected from patients and implanted in ovariectomized NOD-SCID mice.


Mice were treated with vitamin D (0.5 μg/kg/d or 1 μg/kg/d) or vehicle for 21 or 60 days.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Vitamin D effect in xenograft tissue was assessed by monitoring tumor size (18F-FDG positron-emission tomography/computerized tomography and macroscopic examination), cell proliferation (immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction [qRT-PCR]), ECM (Western blot), transforming growth factor (TGF) β3 (qRT-PCR), and apoptosis (Westrn blot and TUNEL).


Short-term treatment with vitamin D did not appear to alter leiomyoma size, based on in vivo monitoring and macroscopic examination. However, long-term high-dose treatment induced a significant reduction in leiomyoma size. Cell proliferation was not decreased in the short term, whereas 1 μg/kg/d vitamin D in the long term significantly reduced proliferation compared with control. Although collagen-I and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 were not modified by short-term treatment, they were both significantly reduced by long-term high-dose vitamin D. Similarly, long-term high-dose vitamin D significantly reduced TGF-β3 expression. Finally, apoptosis significantly increased with both short- and long-term high-dose vitamin D treatment.


Long-term vitamin D acts as an antiproliferative, antifibrotic, and proapoptotic therapy that provides a safe, nonsurgical therapeutic option for reducing uterine leiomyoma size without side-effects.

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