Immunohistochemical evaluation of vitamin D receptor (VDR) expression in cutaneous melanoma tissues and four VDR gene polymorphisms

Francesco La Marra, Giuseppe Stinco, Cinzia Buligan, Giovanni Chiriacò, Diego Serraino, Carla Di Loreto, Sabina Cauci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: Vitamin D receptor (VDR) mediates vitamin D activity. We examined whether VDR expression in excised melanoma tissues is associated with VDR gene (VDR) polymorphisms. Methods: We evaluated VDR protein expression (by monoclonal antibody immunostaining), melanoma characteristics, and carriage of VDR-FokI-rs2228570 (C>T), VDR-BsmI-rs1544410 (G>A), VDR-ApaI-rs7975232 (T>G), and VDR-TaqI-rs731236 (T>C) polymorphisms (by restriction fragment length polymorphism). Absence or presence of restriction site was denoted by a capital or lower letter, respectively: "F" and "f" for FokI, "B" and "b" for BsmI, "A" and "a" for ApaI, and "T" and "t" for TaqI endonuclease. Seventy-four Italian cutaneous primary melanomas (52.1±12.7 years old) were studied; 51.4% were stage I, 21.6% stage II, 13.5% stage III, and 13.5% stage IV melanomas. VDR expression was categorized as follows: 100% positive vs. <100%; over the median 20% (high VDR expression) vs. ≤20% (low VDR expression); absence vs. presence of VDR-expressing cells. Results: Stage I melanomas, Breslow thickness of <1.00 mm, level II Clark invasion, Aa heterozygous genotype, and AaTT combined genotype were more frequent in melanomas with high vs. low VDR expression. Combined genotypes BbAA, bbAa, AATt, BbAATt, and bbAaTT were more frequent in 100% vs. <100% VDR-expressing cells. Combined genotype AATT was more frequent in melanomas lacking VDR expression (odds ratio=14.5; P=0.025). VDR expression was not associated with metastasis, ulceration, mitosis >1, regression, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, tumoral infiltration of vascular tissues, additional skin and non-skin cancers, and melanoma familiarity. Conclusions: We highlighted that VDR polymorphisms can affect VDR expression in excised melanoma cells. Low VDR expression in AATT carriers is a new finding that merits further study. VDR expression possibly poses implications for vitamin D supplementation against melanoma. VDR expression and VDR genotype may become precise medicinal tools for melanoma in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-175
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017


  • Cutaneous melanoma
  • FokI polymorphism
  • Metastatic melanoma
  • Predictive biomarkers
  • Skin cancer
  • VDR polymorphism
  • VDR protein expression
  • Vitamin D receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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