Tai C. Chen



Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison Campus

General field of research:

Vitamin D metabolism and cancers

Affiliations other than medicine:

Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research

Clinical Translational Science Institute

Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition Section

Contact information:

M-1022, 85 E. Newton Street, Boston MA, 02118
Phone: (617)-638 4543


Research group information

Robert Chiang, M.D. robertviolet626@yahoo.com.tw

Jeff Mathieu, M.S. Res. Assist. jmat@bu.edu

Zhiren Lu, Res. Assist. lianlu@bu.edu

Kelly Persons, Res. Assist. kpersons@bu.edu


Vitamin D; Enzymology; Biomarker analyses; Cancers; Metabolism; Adipogenesis

Summary of research interest:

The synthesis of vitamin D from its precursors, ergosterol or 7-dehydrocholesterol, and its metabolism to 25-hydroxyvitamin D and subsequently to its active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, especially in prostate cells. We hypothesize that the autocrine synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D in prostate is related to prostate cancer progression.  The center of this hypothesis is the enzyme called CYP27B1, which is expressed in prostate tissue and prostate cell lines. The nature of its regulation and actions suggest that CYP27B1 is a new class of tumor suppressor responsible for the normal growth of mammalian cells.

The use of vitamin D analogs for the prevention and treatment of cancers with more emphasis on prostate and pancreatic cancers. In collaboration with Dr. Kittaka of Teikyo University, we have identified an analog, called MART-10, which is relatively non-calcemic in vivo animal model, and is 1000-fold more active than 1a,25(OH)2D3 in inhibiting prostate cancer cell proliferation.  Thus, this analog could be developed to be effective therapeutic agents for treating early and late stages of prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Recent publications:

Chen TC.  25-Hydroxyvitamin D-1 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP27B1) is a new class of tumor suppressor in the prostate.  Anticancer Res. 2008;28(4A):2015-7.

Chen TC, Chimeh F, Lu Z, Mathieu J, Person KS, Zhang A, Kohn N, Martinello S, Berkowitz R, Holick MF. Factors that influence the cutaneous synthesis and dietary sources of vitamin D. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007;460:213-7.

Istfan NW, Person KS, Holick MF, Chen TC. 1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D and fish oil synergistically inhibit G1/S-phase transition in prostate cancer cells. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007;103(3-5):726-30.

Chen TC, Persons KS, Zheng S, Mathieu J, Holick MF, Lee YF, Bao B, Arai MA, Kittaka A. Evaluation of C-2-substituted 19-nor-1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 analogs as therapeutic agents for prostate cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007;103(3-5):717-20.

Flanagan JN, Young MV, Persons KS, Wang L, Mathieu JS, Whitlatch LW, Holick MF, Chen TC. Vitamin D metabolism in human prostate cells: implications for prostate cancer chemoprevention by vitamin D. Anticancer Res. 2006;26(4A):2567-72.

Young MV, Schwartz GG, Wang L, Jamieson DP, Whitlatch LW, Flanagan JN, Lokeshwar BL, Holick MF, Chen TC. The prostate 25-hydroxyvitamin D-1 alpha-hydroxylase is not influenced by parathyroid hormone and calcium: implications for prostate cancer chemoprevention by vitamin D. Carcinogenesis. 2004;25:967-71.

Chen TC, Holick MF. Vitamin D and prostate cancer prevention and treatment. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2003;14:423-30. Review.

Chen TC, Holick MF, Lokeshwar BL, Burnstein KL, Schwartz GG. Evaluation of vitamin D analogs as therapeutic agents for prostate cancer. Recent Results Cancer Res. 2003;164:273-88.

Technologies available for sharing upon request:

Theory and practice of high performance liquid chromatography for sample analysis and preparation.

Preparation of nuclear receptors from mammalian tissues.

Biomarker analyses by radio-immunoassay, receptor binding assay, ELISA assay, and by LC-MS/MS.

Primary cell cultures of mammalian tissues.