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Front Oncol. 2023;13:1188641







TL was supported by Grant # IRG-17-183-16 from the American Cancer Society, and from the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami. SR was funded by grant # 1R01CA215973. EC was supported by the grant NSF 19-500, DMS 1918925/1922843, JAX Computational Sciences, JAX Cancer Center (JAXCC) and NCI CCSG (P30CA034196).


Osteosarcomas are immune-resistant and metastatic as a result of elevated nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD), reactive oxygen species (ROS), and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Although vitamin D has anti- cancer effects, its effectiveness and mechanism of action against osteosarcomas are poorly understood. In this study, we assessed the impact of vitamin D and its receptor (VDR) on NMD-ROS-EMT signaling in in vitro and in vivo osteosarcoma animal models. Initiation of VDR signaling facilitated the enrichment of EMT pathway genes, after which 1,25(OH)2D, the active vitamin D derivative, inhibited the EMT pathway in osteosarcoma subtypes. The ligand- bound VDR directly downregulated the EMT inducer SNAI2, differentiating highly metastatic from low metastatic subtypes and 1,25(OH)2D sensitivity. Moreover, epigenome-wide motif and putative target gene analysis revealed the VDR’s integration with NMD tumorigenic and immunogenic pathways. In an autoregulatory manner, 1,25(OH)2D inhibited NMD machinery genes and upregulated NMD target genes implicated in anti-oncogenic activity, immunorecognition, and cell-to-cell adhesion. Dicer substrate siRNA knockdown of SNAI2 revealed superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2)-mediated antioxidative responses and 1,25(OH)2D sensitization via non-canonical SOD2 nuclear-to-mitochondrial translocalization leading to overall ROS suppression. In a mouse xenograft metastasis model, the therapeutically relevant vitamin D derivative calcipotriol inhibited osteosarcoma metastasis and tumor growth shown for the first time. Our results uncover novel osteosarcoma-inhibiting mechanisms for vitamin D and calcipotriol that may be translated to human patients.


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