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Squamous cell cancers of head and neck, vitamin D, and the immune system – Aug 2013

Immune Regulatory Activity of Vitamin D3 in Head and Neck Cancer – Review

Cancers 2013, 5(3), 1072-1085; doi:10.3390/cancers5031072
M. Rita I. Young 1,2,3, rita.young at va.gov and Terry A. Day 2
1 Research Service, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, 109 Bee Street, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
2 Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, 135 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
3 Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Medical University of South Carolina, 96 Jonathan Lucas Street, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
Received: 24 May 2013; in revised form: 2 July 2013 / Accepted: 29 July 2013 / Published: 14 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin D: Role in Cancer Causation, Progression and Therapy)

While vitamin D exhibits a multitude of cellular effects that can impact on cancer development and progression, this review focuses on its immune modulatory effects. These immune modulatory effects can be both direct and indirect. Compared to other cancer types, head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) have received less attention, but are a fascination immunologically because of the profound extent to which they inhibit immune defenses. This review describes the mechanisms of some of these immune inhibitory processes and how vitamin D can help overcome aspects of this immune suppression.


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Clipped from WikiPedia

These cells are the main part of the epidermis of the skin, and this cancer is one of the major forms of skin cancer. However, squamous cells also occur in the lining of the digestive tract, lungs, and other areas of the body, and SCC occurs as a form of cancer in diverse tissues, including the lips, mouth, esophagus, urinary bladder, prostate, lung, vagina, and cervix, among others.

See also VitaminDWiki

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