Efficacy of an orally active small-molecule inhibitor of RANKL in bone metastasis

Bone Res. 2019 Jan 3;7:1. doi: 10.1038/s41413-018-0036-5. eCollection 2019.


Bone is one of the preferred sites for the metastasis of malignant tumours, such as breast cancer, lung cancer and malignant melanoma. Tumour cells colonizing bone have the capacity to induce the expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL), which promotes osteoclast differentiation and activation. Tumour-induced osteoclastic bone resorption leads to a vicious cycle between tumours and bone cells that fuels osteolytic tumour growth, causing bone pain and hypercalcaemia. Furthermore, RANKL contributes to bone metastasis by acting as a chemoattractant to bone for tumour cells that express its receptor, RANK. Thus inhibition of the RANKL-RANK pathway is a promising treatment for bone metastasis, and a human monoclonal anti-RANKL antibody, denosumab, has been used in the clinic. However, orally available drugs targeting RANKL must be developed to increase the therapeutic benefits to patients. Here we report the efficacy of the small-molecule RANKL inhibitor AS2676293 in treating bone metastasis using mouse models. Oral administration of AS2676293 markedly inhibited bone metastasis of human breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231-5a-D-Luc2 as well as tumour-induced osteolysis. AS2676293 suppressed RANKL-mediated tumour migration in the transwell assay and inhibited bone metastasis of the murine cell line B16F10, which is known not to trigger osteoclast activation. Based on the results from this study, RANKL inhibition with a small-molecule compound constitutes a promising therapeutic strategy for treating bone metastasis by inhibiting both osteoclastic bone resorption and tumour migration to bone.