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Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Vitamin D, Breast Cancer, Trichostatin A, Sulforaphane, histone deacetylase inhibitors, vitamin D receptor


Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women cancer cases worldwide. Cancer is the result of environmental and genetic factors that contribute to alterations in cellular control, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Vitamin D is emerging as an important nutrient in the prevention and treatment of cancer due to its ability to modulate proliferation and apoptosis in vivo and in vitro. To accomplish this, Vitamin D exerts its biological activity by binding to a specific, high-affinity intracellular vitamin D receptor (VDR). VDR expression is identified in mammary cancer cell lines, but levels are reduced compared to non-cancerous cells, which limits vitamin D-induced gene expression. Our study investigated two compounds with histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACI) activity, trichostatin A (TSA), and sulforaphane (SFN), and how they influence the expression of vitamin D-induced gene expression. By isolating mRNA to create cDNA, we were able to run RT-PCR to analyze the overall gene expression. The genes investigated were: CYP24A1, CYP27B1, VDR and TRPV6. We found that in MCF-7 breast cancer cells, 1,25(OH)2D3 treatment alone induced the expression of VDR, CYP24A1 and CYP27B1. TRPV6 mRNA expression was not evident. TSA alone increased expression of VDR and CYP24A1, but SFN alone had no effect. Co-treatments of 1,25(OH)2D3 and TSA raised CYP24A1, but not significantly. Co-treatments with SFN seemed to decrease CYP24A1 expression, not significantly. Our findings support further study of the effects of the HDACI TSA in breast cancer, and suggest that this HDACI may be beneficial in augmenting vitamin D cellular responsiveness.


First Advisor

Richard J Wood

Second Advisor

Zhenhua Liu