Osteoprotegerin inhibits prostate cancer-induced osteoclastogenesis and prevents prostate tumor growth in the bone

J Clin Invest. 2001 May;107(10):1235-44. doi: 10.1172/JCI11685.


Prostate cancer (CaP) forms osteoblastic skeletal metastases with an underlying osteoclastic component. However, the importance of osteoclastogenesis in the development of CaP skeletal lesions is unknown. In the present study, we demonstrate that CaP cells directly induce osteoclastogenesis from osteoclast precursors in the absence of underlying stroma in vitro. CaP cells produced a soluble form of receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL), which accounted for the CaP-mediated osteoclastogenesis. To evaluate for the importance of osteoclastogenesis on CaP tumor development in vivo, CaP cells were injected both intratibially and subcutaneously in the same mice, followed by administration of the decoy receptor for RANKL, osteoprotegerin (OPG). OPG completely prevented the establishment of mixed osteolytic/osteoblastic tibial tumors, as were observed in vehicle-treated animals, but it had no effect on subcutaneous tumor growth. Consistent with the role of osteoclasts in tumor development, osteoclast numbers were elevated at the bone/tumor interface in the vehicle-treated mice compared with the normal values in the OPG-treated mice. Furthermore, OPG had no effect on CaP cell viability, proliferation, or basal apoptotic rate in vitro. These results emphasize the important role that osteoclast activity plays in the establishment of CaP skeletal metastases, including those with an osteoblastic component.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Resorption / drug therapy*
  • Bone Resorption / pathology
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Glycoproteins / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / secondary
  • RANK Ligand
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / therapeutic use*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tibia


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • RANK Ligand
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • TNFRSF11A protein, human
  • TNFRSF11B protein, human
  • TNFSF11 protein, human
  • Tnfrsf11a protein, mouse
  • Tnfrsf11b protein, mouse
  • Tnfsf11 protein, mouse