Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is an aggressive cancer. Vitamin D supplementation is getting popular due to its anti-tumor functions after conversion to its active form, 1a,25(OH)2D. Here, we show that dietary supplementation with 6 IU/g of vitamin D greatly suppressed ICC initiation and progression without apparent toxicity in a chemically induced rat model. Microarray analysis of rat ICC tissues showed vitamin D supplementation modulated the expressions of several unique genes, including lipocalin 2 (Lcn2), confirmed by RT-qPCR and immunohistochemical (IHC) staining. Further, 53 of 80 human ICC specimens (66%) exhibited high LCN2 expression and LCN2 knockdown in SNU308 cells decreased cell growth and migration, suggesting LCN2 be an oncogene in human ICC. As human ICC SNU1079 cells were treated by 1α,25(OH)2D3, LCN2 expression and cell proliferation were attenuated. The downregulation of LCN2 expression was blunted when vitamin D receptor (VDR) was knocked down, implicating that the in vivo Lcn2 downregulation is a direct consequence of vitamin D supplementation. Our results support the prevailing concept that vitamin D status is negatively associated with cancer incidence and mortality and suggest LCN2 may be a potential target against ICC. Further studies of application of vitamin D or its analogs against ICC are warranted.
- Vitamin D