uPAR antibody (huATN-658) and Zometa reduce breast cancer growth and skeletal lesions

Bone Res. 2020 Apr 17;8:18. doi: 10.1038/s41413-020-0094-3. eCollection 2020.


Urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is implicated in tumor growth and metastasis due to its ability to activate latent growth factors, proteases, and different oncogenic signaling pathways upon binding to different ligands. Elevated uPAR expression is correlated with the increased aggressiveness of cancer cells, which led to its credentialing as an attractive diagnostic and therapeutic target in advanced solid cancer. Here, we examine the antitumor effects of a humanized anti-uPAR antibody (huATN-658) alone and in combination with the approved bisphosphonate Zometa (Zoledronic acid) on skeletal lesion through a series of studies in vitro and in vivo. Treatment with huATN-658 or Zometa alone significantly decreased human MDA-MB-231 cell proliferation and invasion in vitro, effects which were more pronounced when huATN-658 was combined with Zometa. In vivo studies demonstrated that huATN-658 treatment significantly reduced MDA-MB-231 primary tumor growth compared with controls. In a model of breast tumor-induced bone disease, huATN-658 and Zometa were equally effective in reducing skeletal lesions. The skeletal lesions were significantly reduced in animals receiving the combination of huATN-658 + Zometa compared with monotherapy treatment. These effects were due to a significant decrease in osteoclastic activity and tumor cell proliferation in the combination treatment group. Transcriptome analysis revealed that combination treatment significantly changes the expression of genes from signaling pathways implicated in tumor progression and bone remodeling. Results from these studies provide a rationale for the continued development of huATN-658 as a monotherapy and in combination with currently approved agents such as Zometa in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Keywords: Bone cancer; Cancer.