Osteoprotegerin overexpression by breast cancer cells enhances orthotopic and osseous tumor growth and contrasts with that delivered therapeutically

Jane L. Fisher, Rachel J. Thomas-Mudge, Jan Elliott, Daphne K. Hards, Natalie A. Sims, John Slavin, T. John Martin, Matthew T. Gillespie

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66 Citations (Scopus)


Osteoprotegerin (OPG) acts as a decoy receptor for receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL), which is a pivotal molecule required for osteoclast formation. In vitro OPG inhibits osteoclast formation and in vivo (administered as Fc-OPG) it reduces hypercalcemia and the establishment of osteolytic lesions in mouse models of tumor cell growth in bone. Osteolysis can be induced by parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) produced by breast cancer cells that results in an increased osteoblastic RANKL/OPG ratio. We examined the effect of local tumor production of OPG on the ability of breast cancer cells to establish and grow in bone and mammary fat pad. MCF-7 cells or MCF-7 cells overexpressing PTHrP were transfected with full-length OPG and inoculated into the proximal tibiae of athymic nude mice. Mice injected with cells overexpressing PTHrP and OPG showed enhanced tumor growth, increased osteolysis (2-fold compared with MCF-7 cells overexpressing PTHrP), and altered histology that was reflective of a less differentiated (more aggressive) phenotype compared with MCF-7 cells. In contrast, administration of recombinant Fc-OPG reduced tumor growth and limited osteolysis even in mice inoculated with OPG overexpressing cells. Similarly, OPG overexpression by breast cancer cells enhanced tumor growth following orthotopic inoculation. These results indicate that OPG overexpression by breast cancer cells increases tumor growth in vivo and that there are strikingly different responses between therapeutically administered Fc-OPG and full-length OPG produced by tumor cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3620-3628
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

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