The new drug that I am taking, Xgeva® (denosumab), to help control skeletal related events (SRE) of bone metastases, acts by suppressing the activity of a protein called RANKL. My previous post dated October 21, 2010, briefly describes the way RANKL affects bone metastases.
Not limited to its role in bone metastases, RANKL appears to have a key role in the growth and spread of cancer tumors. Researchers at UC San Diego have published in Nature a study on the relationship of RANKL in cancer metastases: in sum, high levels of RANKL activity indicate tumor spread to distant sites. This study indicates that by suppressing RANKL activity, tumor growth may also be suppressed. Let’s keep an eye out for new studies to develop such drugs that may be the key to limiting—and might we hope—eliminating metastasis.
Wei Tan, Weizhou Zhang, Amy Strasner, Sergei Grivennikov, Jin Q. Cheng, Robert M. Hoffman and Michael Karin. Tumour-infiltrating regulatory T cells stimulate mammary cancer metastasis through RANKL–RANK signalling. In Nature doi:10.1038/nature09707, 2-16-11
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