• 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.
Albert DM, Saulenas AM, Cohen SM. Verhoeff's Query: Is Vitamin D Effective Against Retinoblastoma?. Arch Ophthalmol. 1988;106(4):536-540. doi:10.1001/archopht.1988.01060130582042