Role of full-length osteoprotegerin in tumor cell biology

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2009 Mar;66(5):841-51. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-8536-x.


Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor family member, which potently inhibits RANKL-mediated osteoclastogenesis. Numerous constructs have been created for therapeutic purposes in which the heparin-binding and death homology domains of OPG were removed and the remaining peptide (amino acids 22-194) was fused to the Fc domain of human IgG1 (OPG-Fc). The administration of OPG-Fc efficiently counteracted bone loss in a variety of preclinical models of cancers. However, several in vitro studies have shown that native or recombinant full-length OPG not only neuralizes RANKL, but also the death-inducing ligand TRAIL, suggesting that OPG might potentially counteract the anti-tumor activity of TRAIL. Additional evidence suggests that full-length OPG possesses RANKL- and TRAIL-independent biological properties, mainly related to the promotion of endothelial cell survival and angiogenesis. Finally, breast tumor cells overexpressing OPG have shown increased bone metastatic potential in vivo. The relevance of these apparently conflicting findings in tumor cell biology is highlighted.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Survival
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Osteoclasts / cytology
  • Osteoclasts / physiology
  • Osteoprotegerin / genetics
  • Osteoprotegerin / metabolism*
  • RANK Ligand / genetics
  • RANK Ligand / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / metabolism


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • RANK Ligand
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand