Oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) are the most common malignant neoplasms associated with mucosal surfaces of the oral cavity and oropharynx. 1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) is implicated as an anticancer agent. Cytochrome P450 2R1 (CYP2R1) is a microsomal vitamin D 25-hydroxylase which plays an important role in converting dietary vitamin D to active metabolite, 25-(OH)D3. We identified high levels of CYP2R1 expression using tissue microarray of human OSCC tumor specimens compared to normal adjacent tissue. Therefore, we hypothesize that 1,25(OH)2D3 regulates CYP2R1 gene expression in OSCC tumor cells. Interestingly, real-time RT-PCR analysis of total RNA isolated from OSCC cells (SCC1, SCC11B, and SCC14a) treated with 1,25(OH)2D3 showed a significant increase in CYP2R1 and vitamin D receptor (VDR) mRNA expression. Also, Western blot analysis demonstrated that 1,25(OH)2D3 treatment time-dependently increased CYP2R1 expression in these cells. 1,25(OH)2D3 stimulation of OSCC cells transiently transfected with the hCYP2R1 promoter (-2 kb)-luciferase reporter plasmid demonstrated a 4.3-fold increase in promoter activity. In addition, 1,25(OH)2D3 significantly increased c-Fos, p-c-Jun expression, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activity in these cells. The JNK inhibitor suppresses 1,25(OH)2D3, inducing CYP2R1 mRNA expression and gene promoter activity in OSCC cells. Furthermore, JNK inhibitor significantly decreased 1,25(OH)2D3 inhibition of OSCC tumor cell proliferation. Taken together, our results suggest that AP-1 is a downstream effector of 1,25(OH)2D3 signaling to modulate CYP2R1 gene expression in OSCC tumor cells, and vitamin D analogs could be potential therapeutic agents to control OSCC tumor progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cancer Research