The inhibition of RANKL/RANK signaling by osteoprotegerin suppresses bone invasion by oral squamous cell carcinoma cells

Masashi Shin, Kou Matsuo, Takeyuki Tada, Hidefumi Fukushima, Hiroyuki Furuta, Satoru Ozeki, Tomoko Kadowaki, Kenji Yamamoto, Masato Okamoto, Eijiro Jimi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) are malignant tumors that frequently invade the maxilla and mandibular bone. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying bone invasion by OSCC are unclear. Recent studies showed that receptor activator of nuclear factor κB (RANK) was expressed not only in osteoclast precursors but also in tumor cells. Therefore, we examined whether RANK ligand (RANKL)/RANK signaling regulates bone invasion by OSCC cells in vivo and in vitro. We first injected human OSCC B88 cells into the masseter region of nude mice. Mice were treated for 3 weeks with osteoprotegerin (OPG), the decoy receptor for RANKL. Treatment with OPG decreased bone invasion by B88 cells, reduced the number of osteoclasts and increased B88 cell apoptosis. However, OPG did not affect apoptosis and proliferation in B88 cells in vitro, suggesting that the effects of OPG on apoptosis in B88 cells are restricted in a bone environment. RANK was expressed in the B88 cells and in OSCC cells from patients. RANKL induced NF-κB activation and extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation in B88 cells and enhanced B88 cell migration in a modified chemotaxis chamber equipped with a gelatin-coated filter. OPG inhibited RANKL-induced NF-κB activation, extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation and cell migration. Our data clearly indicate that RANKL/RANK inhibition suppresses bone invasion by inhibiting osteoclastogenesis and cancer cell migration and by inducing apoptosis of cancer cells via indirect anticancer action in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1634-1640
Number of pages7
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cancer Research


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