High-dose weekly oral calcitriol in patients with a rising PSA after prostatectomy or radiation for prostate carcinoma

Tomasz M. Beer, Dianne Lemmon, Bruce A. Lowe, W. David Henner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. In preclinical systems, calcitriol, the natural vitamin D receptor (VDR) ligand, has been found to demonstrate antiproliferative effects, although concentrations > 1 nM are required. Unlike daily dosing, weekly administration of oral calcitriol can safely achieve such blood calcitriol concentrations. This study sought to define the long-term toxicity of this regimen and measure its effect on serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in patients with hormone-naïve prostate carcinoma. METHODS. Patients with a rising serum PSA after prostatectomy and/or radiation and no prior systemic therapy for prostate carcinoma recurrence maintained a reduced calcium diet and received calcitriol 0.5 μg/kg orally once each week until a maximum of a four-fold increase in the PSA. RESULTS. Twenty-two patients received treatment for a median of 10 months (range, 2-25+ months). Treatment was well tolerated with no Grade ≥ 3 toxicity and no hypercalcemia or renal calculi. No patient had a PSA response (50% reduction confirmed 4 weeks later). Three patients (14%, 95% CI 0-28%) had confirmed reductions in the PSA ranging from 10% to 47%. Statistically significant increases in the PSA doubling time (PSADT) were seen in three additional patients and no patient had a shorter PSADT after starting treatment. For the entire study population, the median PSADT increased from 7.8 months to 10.3 months (P = 0.03 by Wilcoxon signed rank test). CONCLUSIONS. Weekly high-dose calcitriol was found to be safe. The primary efficacy endpoint of 50% reduction in the serum PSA was not achieved with this therapy. Randomized studies are needed to further examine the impact of this therapy on prostate carcinoma progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1217-1224
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D
  • 1α,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol
  • Calcitriol
  • Clinical trial
  • Phase II
  • Prostate carcinoma
  • Prostate specific antigen (PSA)
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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