Overexpression of smad7 blocks primary tumor growth and lung metastasis development in osteosarcoma

Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Oct 1;20(19):5097-112. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-3191. Epub 2014 Aug 8.


Purpose: Osteosarcoma is the main malignant primary bone tumor in children and adolescents for whom the prognosis remains poor, especially when metastasis is present at diagnosis. Because transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) has been shown to promote metastasis in many solid tumors, we investigated the effect of the natural TGFβ/Smad signaling inhibitor Smad7 and the TβRI inhibitor SD-208 on osteosarcoma behavior.

Experimental design: By using a mouse model of osteosarcoma induced by paratibial injection of cells, we assessed the impact of Smad7 overexpression or SD-208 on tumor growth, tumor microenvironment, bone remodeling, and metastasis development.

Results: First, we demonstrated that TGFβ levels are higher in serum samples from patients with osteosarcoma compared with healthy volunteers and that TGFβ/Smad3 signaling pathway is activated in clinical samples. Second, we showed that Smad7 slows the growth of the primary tumor and increases mice survival. We furthermore demonstrated that Smad7 expression does not affect in vitro osteosarcoma cell proliferation but affects the microarchitectural parameters of bone. In addition, Smad7-osteosarcoma bone tumors expressed lower levels of osteolytic factors such as RANKL, suggesting that Smad7 overexpression affects the "vicious cycle" established between tumor cells and bone cells by its ability to decrease osteoclast activity. Finally, we showed that Smad7 overexpression in osteosarcoma cells and the treatment of mice with SD208 inhibit the development of lung metastasis.

Conclusion: Taken together, these results demonstrate that the inhibition of the TGFβ/Smad signaling pathway may be a promising therapeutic strategy against tumor progression of osteosarcoma, specifically against the development of lung metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Bone Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Bone Neoplasms / mortality
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bone Resorption / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Mice
  • Osteoclasts / drug effects
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics*
  • Osteosarcoma / metabolism
  • Osteosarcoma / mortality
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology*
  • Pteridines / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Smad3 Protein / metabolism
  • Smad7 Protein / genetics*
  • Smad7 Protein / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / blood
  • Tumor Burden / genetics


  • Pteridines
  • SD-208
  • Smad3 Protein
  • Smad7 Protein
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta