Gene Summary

Gene:TNFRSF11A; TNF receptor superfamily member 11a
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the TNF-receptor superfamily. This receptors can interact with various TRAF family proteins, through which this receptor induces the activation of NF-kappa B and MAPK8/JNK. This receptor and its ligand are important regulators of the interaction between T cells and dendritic cells. This receptor is also an essential mediator for osteoclast and lymph node development. Mutations at this locus have been associated with familial expansile osteolysis, autosomal recessive osteopetrosis, and Paget disease of bone. Alternatively spliced transcript variants have been described for this locus. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2012]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 11A
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (27)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (2)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 30 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Cell Movement
  • Giant Cell Tumor of Bone
  • Messenger RNA
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Cancer
  • Osteolysis
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Apoptosis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Osteoclasts
  • NF-kappa B
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Bone Cancer
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Cell Proliferation
  • RANK Ligand
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Denosumab
  • Osteoblasts
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Stromal Cells
  • Chromosome 18
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein
  • Gene Expression
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Mutation
  • Breast Cancer
  • Staging
  • Cell Survival
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: TNFRSF11A (cancer-related)

Vargas G, Bouchet M, Bouazza L, et al.
ERRα promotes breast cancer cell dissemination to bone by increasing RANK expression in primary breast tumors.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(7):950-964 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bone is the most common metastatic site for breast cancer. Estrogen-related-receptor alpha (ERRα) has been implicated in cancer cell invasiveness. Here, we established that ERRα promotes spontaneous metastatic dissemination of breast cancer cells from primary mammary tumors to the skeleton. We carried out cohort studies, pharmacological inhibition, gain-of-function analyses in vivo and cellular and molecular studies in vitro to identify new biomarkers in breast cancer metastases. Meta-analysis of human primary breast tumors revealed that high ERRα expression levels were associated with bone but not lung metastases. ERRα expression was also detected in circulating tumor cells from metastatic breast cancer patients. ERRα overexpression in murine 4T1 breast cancer cells promoted spontaneous bone micro-metastases formation when tumor cells were inoculated orthotopically, whereas lung metastases occurred irrespective of ERRα expression level. In vivo, Rank was identified as a target for ERRα. That was confirmed in vitro in Rankl stimulated tumor cell invasion, in mTOR/pS6K phosphorylation, by transactivation assay, ChIP and bioinformatics analyses. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of ERRα reduced primary tumor growth, bone micro-metastases formation and Rank expression in vitro and in vivo. Transcriptomic studies and meta-analysis confirmed a positive association between metastases and ERRα/RANK in breast cancer patients and also revealed a positive correlation between ERRα and BRCA1

Jiang ZY, Jiang JJ, Ma YS, et al.
Downregulation of miR-223 and miR-19a induces differentiation and promotes recruitment of osteoclast cells in giant-cell tumor of the bone via the Runx2/TWIST-RANK/RANKL pathway.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 505(4):1003-1009 [PubMed] Related Publications
Giant-cell tumor (GCT) of the bone is an invasiveness and high recurrent bone tumor that is considered borderline or potentially malignant. To explore the molecular mechanism leading to bone destruction and identify novel targets for treatment, we conducted silencing of miR-223 and miR-19a in stromal giant cells and identified TWIST and Runx2 as their target genes. We investigated the impact of these microRNAs and their target genes on stromal giant cells that promote the differentiation of monocyte/macrophages into osteoclast cells and recruitment to the bone microenvironment, which in turn enhances the bone destruction capacity of GCT. MiR-223 and miR-19a were found to regulate the expression of TWIST and Runx2, influence the RANKL-RANK pathway and the expression of MCP-1, and finally regulate the pathophysiological process of osteolytic bone destruction. Our results indicate that re-expression of miR-223 and miR-19a induces an inhibitory effect on the bone destruction capacity of GCT, suggesting that re-expression of miR-223 and miR-19a can be a novel strategy for the treatment of GCT.

Mashimo K, Tsubaki M, Takeda T, et al.
RANKL-induced c-Src activation contributes to conventional anti-cancer drug resistance and dasatinib overcomes this resistance in RANK-expressing multiple myeloma cells.
Clin Exp Med. 2019; 19(1):133-141 [PubMed] Related Publications
The survival and growth of multiple myeloma (MM) cells are facilitated by cell-cell interactions with bone marrow stromal cells and the bone marrow microenvironment. These interactions induce de novo drug resistance known as cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance. Our previous results recently revealed that the receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) ligand (RANKL), which is expressed by bone marrow stromal cells, contributes to anti-cancer drug resistance through the activation of various signaling molecules and suppression of Bim expression in RANK-expressing MM cells. However, the detailed mechanisms underlying RANKL-induced drug resistance remain uncharacterized. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism of RANKL-induced drug resistance in RANK-expressing MM cell lines. We found treatment of MM cells with RANKL-induced c-Src phosphorylation and activation of the downstream signaling molecules Akt, mTOR, STAT3, JNK, and NF-κB. In addition, treatment with dasatinib, a c-Src inhibitor, overcame RANKL- and bone marrow stromal cell-induced drug resistance to adriamycin, vincristine, dexamethasone, and melphalan by suppressing c-Src, Akt, mTOR, STAT3, JNK, and NF-κB activation and enhancing expression of Bim. Overall, RANKL- and bone marrow stromal cell-induced drug resistance correlated with the activation of c-Src signaling pathways, which caused a decrease in Bim expression. Dasatinib treatment of RANK-expressing MM cells re-sensitized them to anti-cancer drugs. Therefore, inhibition of c-Src may be a new therapeutic approach for overcoming RANKL-induced drug resistance in patients with MM.

Brito-Mendoza L, Bologna-Molina R, Irigoyen-Camacho ME, et al.
A Comparison of Ki67, Syndecan-1 (CD138), and Molecular RANK, RANKL, and OPG Triad Expression in Odontogenic Keratocyts, Unicystic Ameloblastoma, and Dentigerous Cysts.
Dis Markers. 2018; 2018:7048531 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background and Objective: Reduced expression of syndecan-1 (CD138), increased proliferation index, and modifications in the expression of the molecular RANK/RANKL/OPG triad are related to an intensified potential of aggressiveness and invasion of diverse tumors and cysts. The aim was to compare the expression of Ki-67, CD138, and the molecular triad RANK, RANKL, and OPG in odontogenic keratocysts (OKC), unicystic ameloblastomas (UA), and dentigerous cysts (DC).
Methods: Immunohistochemistry for Ki-67, CD138, RANK, RANKL, and OPG was performed in 58 odontogenic cystic lesions (22 OKC, 17 DC, and 19 UA).
Results: A higher expression of Ki-67 was identified in OKC as compared to UA (
Conclusion: Higher RANKL expression together with the reduction on CD138 expression in UA could be linked to a greater invasive and destructive potential, while the increased proliferation rate observed in OKC could be related to its continuous intrabony growth. The expansion of DC does not seem to be related to such factors, justifying the different therapeutic approaches proposed for each of these entities.

Gómez R, Castro A, Martínez J, et al.
Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor Kappa B (RANK) and Clinicopathological Variables in Endometrial Cancer: A Study at Protein and Gene Level.
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19(7) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The system integrated by the receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B (RANK) and its ligand, RANKL, modulates the role of hormones in the genesis and progression of breast tumors. We investigated whether the expression of RANK was related with clinicopathological features of primary endometrial tumors. Immunohistochemistry was used in an endometrial cancer tissue array containing samples from 36 tumors. The amount of RANK mRNA was examined in a tissue scan cDNA array containing cDNA from 40 tumors. Normal endometrium was examined for comparison. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that RANK expression was higher in malignant than in normal endometrium (

Sirinian C, Papanastasiou AD, Schizas M, et al.
RANK-c attenuates aggressive properties of ER-negative breast cancer by inhibiting NF-κB activation and EGFR signaling.
Oncogene. 2018; 37(37):5101-5114 [PubMed] Related Publications
The RANK/RANKL axis emerges as a key regulator of breast cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis. RANK-c is a RANK receptor isoform produced through alternative splicing of the TNFRSF11A (RANK) gene and a dominant-negative regulator of RANK-induced nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation. Here we report that RANK-c transcript is expressed in 3.2% of cases in The Cancer Genome Atlas breast cancer cohort evenly between ER-positive and ER-negative cases. Nevertheless, the ratio of RANK to RANK-c (RANK/RANK-c) is increased in ER-negative breast cancer cell lines compared to ER-positive breast cancer cell lines. In addition, forced expression of RANK-c in ER-negative breast cancer cell lines inhibited stimuli-induced NF-κB activation and attenuated migration, invasion, colony formation, and adhesion of cancer cells. Further, RANK-c expression in MDA-MB-231 cells inhibited lung metastasis and colonization in vivo. The RANK-c-mediated inhibition of cancer cell aggressiveness and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation in breast cancer cells seems to rely on a RANK-c/TNF receptor-associated factor-2 (TRAF2) protein interaction. This was further confirmed by a mutated RANK-c that is unable to interact with TRAF2 and abolishes the ability to attenuate NF-κB activation, migration, and invasion. Additional protein interaction characterization revealed epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as a novel interacting partner for RANK-c in breast cancer cells with a negative effect on EGFR phosphorylation and EGF-dependent downstream signaling pathway activation. Our findings further elucidate the complex molecular biology of the RANKL/RANK system in breast cancer and provide preliminary data for RANK-c as a possible marker for disease progression and aggressiveness.

Ikhena DE, Liu S, Kujawa S, et al.
RANKL/RANK Pathway and Its Inhibitor RANK-Fc in Uterine Leiomyoma Growth.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018; 103(5):1842-1849 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Context: Uterine leiomyomas are the most common type of gynecologic tumor in women.
Objective: To determine the role of the cytokine receptor activator of nuclear factor κ-Β ligand (RANKL); its receptor, receptor activator of nuclear factor κ-Β (RANK); and the RANKL/RANK pathway inhibitor RANK-Fc in leiomyoma growth.
Design: Messenger RNA (mRNA) or protein levels of RANKL, RANK, and proliferation markers cyclin D1 and Ki67 were assessed in various leiomyoma tissues and cell populations. Human xenograft experiments were performed to determine the effects of RANK-Fc on leiomyoma growth in vivo.
Setting: Research laboratory.
Patients: Twenty-four regularly cycling premenopausal women (age 28 to 49 years) who were not receiving hormone therapy.
Interventions: None.
Main Outcome Measure: Tumor growth in a murine xenograft model following targeting of the RANKL/RANK pathway with RANK-Fc.
Results: RANKL mRNA levels in leiomyoma were significantly higher than those in myometrial tissues. The highest RANK levels were found in the leiomyoma stem cell population, which is deficient in progesterone receptor (PR). Conversely, the highest RANKL levels were found in the PR-rich leiomyoma intermediate cell (LIC) population. R5020, a PR agonist, specifically increased RANKL expression in LICs. RANK-Fc blocked RANKL-induced expression of the proliferative gene cyclin D1. Treatment with RANK-Fc also significantly decreased tumor growth in vivo and diminished the expression of proliferation marker Ki67 in tumors (P < 0.01; n = 4).
Conclusions: Treatment with the RANKL/RANK pathway inhibitor RANK-Fc significantly decreased human leiomyoma cell proliferation and tumor growth. This suggests that the RANKL/RANK pathway could serve as a potential target for the prevention and treatment of uterine leiomyoma.

Wakabayashi H, Hamaguchi T, Nagao N, et al.
Interleukin-6 receptor inhibitor suppresses bone metastases in a breast cancer cell line.
Breast Cancer. 2018; 25(5):566-574 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a potent inflammatory cytokine that appears to play a key role in cancer growth and metastasis. In the present study, the effects of IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) on breast cancer aggressiveness and bone metastases were investigated.
METHODS: MDA-MB-231 (MDA-231) cells were treated in the presence or absence of anti-human IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) monoclonal antibody and examined with respect to cell survival. The expressions of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) were analyzed by SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting. MDA-231 cells were injected into the left ventricle of mice, and then anti-human IL-6R monoclonal antibody or saline was administered intraperitoneally for 28 days. After 28 days, the incidence of bone metastases was evaluated in the hind limbs by radiography and histology.
RESULTS: Anti-human IL-6R monoclonal antibody reduced bone metastases in an animal model injected with MDA-231 cells on radiological and histomorphometric analyses. The mechanism of bone metastasis inhibition involved inhibited cell proliferation and decreased expressions of phospho-Stat3, VEGF, and RANK in MDA-231 cells.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study suggest that inhibition of IL-6 signaling may become a preventive therapeutic option for breast cancer and bone metastases.

Franchi A, Taverna C, Simoni A, et al.
RANK and RANK Ligand Expression in Parotid Gland Carcinomas.
Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2018; 26(7):478-482 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recently, it has been reported that deregulation of the receptor activator of NFkB ligand (RANKL)/RANK signaling axis results in salivary gland tumor development in a mouse transgenic model. The aim of this study was to ascertain RANKL and RANK protein expression in a series of primary parotid gland carcinomas and to correlate it with clinicopathologic parameters. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples from 46 consecutive cases of parotid gland carcinoma were selected for this study. For comparison, we examined a group of 40 randomly chosen parotid gland adenomas, including 20 pleomorphic adenomas, 10 myoepitheliomas, and 10 Warthin tumors. Immunohistochemical analysis for RANK and RANKL was conducted on tissue microarrays. Overall, 33 carcinomas (71.7%) were scored as positive for RANK and 25 (54.3%) for RANKL. The expression of both RANK and RANKL was significantly higher in carcinomas than in adenomas as only 6 (15%) adenomas were positive for RANK, and RANKL was negative in all benign tumors (P<0.001 for both, Fisher exact test). Some histologic types, including salivary duct carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and carcinoma ex-pleomorphic adenoma presented a high frequency of RANK and RANKL expression. No significant correlation was observed between RANK/RANKL expression and clinical parameters. Our study indicates that the expression of RANK and RANKL in parotid gland neoplasms is associated with the acquisition of a malignant phenotype and this pathway may represent an attractive therapeutic target in patients with parotid gland carcinomas.

Owen S, Zabkiewicz C, Ye L, et al.
Key Factors in Breast Cancer Dissemination and Establishment at the Bone: Past, Present and Future Perspectives.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017; 1026:197-216 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bone metastases associated with breast cancer remain a clinical challenge due to their associated morbidity, limited therapeutic intervention and lack of prognostic markers. With a continually evolving understanding of bone biology and its dynamic microenvironment, many potential new targets have been proposed. In this chapter, we discuss the roles of well-established bone markers and how their targeting, in addition to tumour-targeted therapies, might help in the prevention and treatment of bone metastases. There are a vast number of bone markers, of which one of the best-known families is the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). This chapter focuses on their role in breast cancer-associated bone metastases, associated signalling pathways and the possibilities for potential therapeutic intervention. In addition, this chapter provides an update on the role receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (RANK), RANK ligand (RANKL) and osteoprotegerin (OPG) play on breast cancer development and their subsequent influence during the homing and establishment of breast cancer-associated bone metastases. Beyond the well-established bone molecules, this chapter also explores the role of other potential factors such as activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) and its potential impact on breast cancer cells' affinity for the bone environment, which implies that ALCAM could be a promising therapeutic target.

Christoph F, König F, Lebentrau S, et al.
RANKL/RANK/OPG cytokine receptor system: mRNA expression pattern in BPH, primary and metastatic prostate cancer disease.
World J Urol. 2018; 36(2):187-192 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The cytokine system RANKL (receptor activator of NF-κB ligand), its receptor RANK and the antagonist OPG (osteoprotegerin) play a critical role in bone turnover. Our investigation was conducted to describe the gene expression at primary tumour site in prostate cancer patients and correlate the results with Gleason Score and PSA level.
METHODS: Seventy-one samples were obtained from prostate cancer patients at the time of radical prostatectomy and palliative prostate resection (n = 71). Patients with benign prostate hyperplasia served as controls (n = 60). We performed real-time RT-PCR after microdissection of the samples.
RESULTS: The mRNA expression of RANK was highest in tumour tissue from patients with bone metastases (p < 0.001) as compared to BPH or locally confined tumours, also shown in clinical subgroups distinguished by Gleason Score (< 7 or ≥ 7, p = 0.028) or PSA level (< 10 or ≥ 10 µg/l, p = 0.004). RANKL and OPG mRNA expression was higher in tumour tissue from patients with metastatic compared to local disease. The RANKL/OPG ratio was low in normal prostate tissue and high tumours with bone metastases (p < 0.05). Expression of all three cytokines was high in BPH tissue but did not exceed as much as in the tumour tissue.
CONCLUSION: We demonstrated that RANK, RANKL and OPG are directly expressed by prostate cancer cells at the primary tumour site and showed a clear correlation with Gleason Score, serum PSA level and advanced disease. In BPH, mRNA expression is also detectable, but RANK expression does not exceed as much as compared to tumour tissue.

Ma D, Chang LY, Zhao S, et al.
KLF5 promotes cervical cancer proliferation, migration and invasion in a manner partly dependent on TNFRSF11a expression.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1):15683 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) plays important roles in both inflammation and cancer, the mechanism by which this factor promotes cervical carcinogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we demonstrated a potential role for tumour necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 11a (TNFRSF11a), the corresponding gene of which is a direct binding target of KLF5, in tumour cell proliferation and invasiveness. Coexpression of KLF5 and TNFRSF11a correlated significantly with tumorigenesis in cervical tissues (P < 0.05) and manipulation of KLF5 expression positively affected TNFRSF11a mRNA and protein expression. Functionally, KLF5 promoted cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasiveness in a manner dependent partly on TNFRSF11a expression. Moreover, in vivo functional TNFRSF11a-knockdown mouse studies revealed suppression of tumorigenicity and liver metastatic potential. Notably, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α induced KLF5 expression by activating the p38 signalling pathway and high KLF5 and TNFRSF11a expression increased the risk of death in patients with cervical squamous cell carcinoma. Our results demonstrate that KLF5 and TNFRSF11a promote cervical cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasiveness.

Rao S, Sigl V, Wimmer RA, et al.
RANK rewires energy homeostasis in lung cancer cells and drives primary lung cancer.
Genes Dev. 2017; 31(20):2099-2112 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths. Besides smoking, epidemiological studies have linked female sex hormones to lung cancer in women; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we report that the receptor activator of nuclear factor-kB (RANK), the key regulator of osteoclastogenesis, is frequently expressed in primary lung tumors, an active RANK pathway correlates with decreased survival, and pharmacologic RANK inhibition reduces tumor growth in patient-derived lung cancer xenografts. Clonal genetic inactivation of

Marini C, Bruno S, Fiz F, et al.
Functional Activation of Osteoclast Commitment in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia: a Possible Role for RANK/RANKL Pathway.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1):14159 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Skeletal erosion has been found to represent an independent prognostic indicator in patients with advanced stages of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Whether this phenomenon also occurs in early CLL phases and its underlying mechanisms have yet to be fully elucidated. In this study, we prospectively enrolled 36 consecutive treatment-naïve patients to analyse skeletal structure and bone marrow distribution using a computational approach to PET/CT images. This evaluation was combined with the analysis of RANK/RANKL loop activation in the leukemic clone, given recent reports on its role in CLL progression. Bone erosion was particularly evident in long bone shafts, progressively increased from Binet stage A to Binet stage C, and was correlated with both local expansion of metabolically active bone marrow documented by FDG uptake and with the number of RANKL + cells present in the circulating blood. In immune-deficient NOD/Shi-scid, γcnull (NSG) mice, administration of CLL cells caused an appreciable compact bone erosion that was prevented by Denosumab. CLL cell proliferation in vitro correlated with RANK expression and was impaired by Denosumab-mediated disruption of the RANK/RANKL loop. This study suggests an interaction between CLL cells and stromal elements able to simultaneously impair bone structure and increase proliferating potential of leukemic clone.

Papanastasiou AD, Sirinian C, Plakoula E, et al.
RANK and EGFR in invasive breast carcinoma.
Cancer Genet. 2017; 216-217:61-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer is the most common malignancy, affecting one in eight women in North America and Europe. The human epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein comprises a major determinant of normal development but also cancer. RANK receptor (Receptor Activator of Nuclear factor-κB) is a tumor necrosis superfamily member and a binding partner for RANKL, which was recently implicated in breast cancer initiation, progression and metastasis. Here we provide preliminary evidence of a possible interplay between RANK and EGFR signaling in breast cancer. TCGA ( publicly available data for EGFR and TNFRSF11A (RANK) genes from breast cancer patients and breast cancer cell lines were retrieved and analyzed. RANK mRNA showed a statistically significant positive correlation (p <0.001) with the mRNA and protein expression of EGFR, but not with ERBB2/3/4. Further analyses of survival data of a group of breast cancer patients (n = 248) from TCGA, revealed an EGFR

Moody S, Escudero-Ibarz L, Wang M, et al.
Significant association between TNFAIP3 inactivation and biased immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region 4-34 usage in mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma.
J Pathol. 2017; 243(1):3-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Both antigenic drive and genetic change play critical roles in the development of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, but neither alone is sufficient for malignant transformation, and lymphoma development critically depends on their cooperation. However, which of these different events concur and how they cooperate in MALT lymphomagenesis is totally unknown. To explore this, we investigated somatic mutations of 17 genes and immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region (IGHV) usage in 179 MALT lymphomas from various sites. We showed that: (1) there was a significant association between the biased usage of IGHV4-34 (binds to the carbohydrate I/i antigens) and inactivating mutation of TNFAIP3 [encoding a global negative regulator of the canonical nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway] in ocular adnexal MALT lymphoma; (2) IGHV1-69 was significantly overrepresented (54%) in MALT lymphoma of the salivary gland, but was not associated with mutation in any of the 17 genes investigated; and (3) MALT lymphoma lacked mutations that are frequently seen in other B-cell lymphomas characterized by constitutive NF-κB activities, including mutations in CD79B, CARD11, MYD88, TNFRSF11A, and TRAF3. Our findings show, for the first time, a significant association between biased usage of autoreactive IGHV and somatic mutation of NF-κB regulators in MALT lymphoma, arguing for their cooperation in sustaining chronic B-cell receptor signalling and driving oncogenesis in lymphoma development. Copyright © 2017 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Rabelo GD, Coutinho-Camillo C, Kowalski LP, et al.
Evaluation of cortical mandibular bone in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Clin Oral Investig. 2018; 22(2):783-790 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to evaluate the mandible cortical bone changes in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty patients who underwent some mandibular bone removal as part of the treatment of OSCC had bone samples collected in two parts: in the proximity of the tumor (BPT) and in the surgical margin (BEP). Cortical microarchitecture was analyzed trough micro-computed tomography, together with texture analysis, followed by microcrack evaluation in histological sections and gene expression of RANK, RANKL, OPG, and sclerostin by quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: Bone surface was higher in BPT (0.005 ± 0.002 vs 0.004 ± 0.002, p = 0.01) compared with BEP. In BPT, the subset of patients without bone invasion presented higher anisotropy (0.83 ± 0.07) compared with the ones with bone invasion (0.70 ± 0.14) (p = 0.04). RANK, RANKL, OPG, and sclerostin were found to be downregulated in the majority of cases in both parts. There were significant correlations between the parameters of microarchitecture and gene expression analysis (p < 0.001 to p < 0.05), most of them related with OPG levels.
CONCLUSION: The cortex in the mandible in the proximity of the tumor reveals more bone surface than the bone in the surgical margin, and the tumor invasion causes a decrease in anisotropy. RANK, RANKL, OPG, and sclerostin are downregulated in mandible, in both parts analyzed. Correlation tests revealed the association between cortical thickness, bone surface, anisotropy, porosity, bone mineral density, and OPG levels.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The mandible cortical bone microarchitecture changes in the proximity of the squamous cell carcinoma lesion.

Ahern E, Harjunpää H, Barkauskas D, et al.
Co-administration of RANKL and CTLA4 Antibodies Enhances Lymphocyte-Mediated Antitumor Immunity in Mice.
Clin Cancer Res. 2017; 23(19):5789-5801 [PubMed] Related Publications

Vidula N, Yau C, Li J, et al.
Receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B (RANK) expression in primary breast cancer correlates with recurrence-free survival and development of bone metastases in I-SPY1 (CALGB 150007/150012; ACRIN 6657).
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017; 165(1):129-138 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: The receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B (RANK)/RANK ligand (RANKL)/osteoprotegerin (OPG) axis may contribute to the development of bone metastases (BM). We studied gene expression in this pathway in primary breast cancer (BC) to determine correlations with clinical characteristics and outcomes in the neoadjuvant I-SPY1 study.
METHODS: We evaluated RANK/RANKL/OPG expression using expression microarrays in I-SPY1 (n = 149). Associations with clinical features were determined using t test and ANOVA. Associations between biomarker high versus low groups (dichotomized at an optimal cutpoint) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were evaluated using the log-rank test and in a multivariate Cox proportional hazard model. A pooled external neoadjuvant cohort with gene expression data (GSE25066) (Hatzis et al. in JAMA 305(18):1873-1881, 30) (n = 425) was used for validation. Associations with site-specific relapse were evaluated using the t-test and multivariate logistic regression adjusting for hormone receptor (HR) status.
RESULTS: RANK was significantly higher in HR negative versus HR positive (p = 0.027), in basal versus non-basal disease (p = 0.004), and in those achieving pathologic complete response (p = 0.038); the associations with HR negative and basal BC were also significant in GSE25066. In both datasets, higher RANK associated with significantly worse RFS (I-SPY1: p = 0.045, GSE25066: p = 0.044). However, this association did not remain significant after adjusting for HR status. In I-SPY1 patients with recurrence, higher RANK correlated with BM versus non-BM (p = 0.045), even after adjusting for HR status (p = 0.035).
CONCLUSIONS: RANK is increased in HR negative and basal BC, and correlates with worse RFS and risk of BM. The RANK pathway is a potential therapeutic target in BC.

Chang L, Ma D, Li O, et al.
Expressions and Functions of Krüppel Like Factor 5 and Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily Member 11a in Cervical Cancer Tissues and Cells.
Zhongguo Yi Xue Ke Xue Yuan Xue Bao. 2017; 39(2):196-205 [PubMed] Related Publications
Objective To investigate the expressions of Krüppel like factor 5 (KLF5) and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 11a (TNFRSF11a) in cervical cancer tissues and their effect on proliferation,migration,and invasion of HeLa cells. Methods Microarray technology was used to detect the mRNA expression of gene in cytocine stimulusin cervical tissues,and the result was verified by real-time fluorescence quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The expressions of KLF5 and TNFRSF11a in cervical tissues were detected by double immunofluorescence staining. HeLa cells were transfected with specific small interfering RNA to knock down the endogenous TNFRSF11a and KLF5 and were infected with adenovirus containing KLF5 to over-express KLF5,respectively. Protein level was detected by Western blot. The regulatory effect of KLF5 on candidate target gene (TNFRSF11a) was determined by dual-luciferase reporter assay. The activity of the cell proliferation,migration,and invasion was detected by using cell counting kit-8 assay and Transwell assay. Results The results of microarray technology showed that the expressions of KLF5 and TNFRSF11a were significantly higher in cervical squamous cell carcinoma tissues compared with normal cervical tissues (P=0.002,P=0.045),and real-time fluorescence quantitative polymerase chain reaction showed that the mRNA expressions of KLF5 and TNFRSF11a were significantly higher in cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) Ⅰ,CINⅡ-Ⅲ and cervical squamous cell carcinoma tissues compared with normal cervical tissues (KLF5:F=32.79,P=0.018,P=0.014,and P=0.011;TNFRSF11a:F=36.72,P=0.013,P=0.010,and P=0.009) and double immunofluorescence staining showed that the protein expressions of KLF5 and TNFRSF11a were significantly higher in CIN Ⅰ,CIN Ⅱ-Ⅲ and cervical squamous cell carcinoma tissues compared with normal cervical tissues (KLF5:F=42.38,P=0.014,P=0.008,and P=0.002;TNFRSF11a:F=35.42,P=0.021,P=0.012,and P=0.004) and increased with the carcinogenesis. The experiment in vitro confirmed that KLF5 promotes proliferation,migration,and invasion of HeLa by up-regulating TNFRSF11a expression. Clinical analysis showed that the expression of TNFRSF11a mRNA was positively correlated with tumor pathological grading,clinical stage,depth of invasion,and lymph node metastasis (all P<0.05). Conclusion KLF5 and TNFRSF11a are related to cervical cancer. KLF5 promote the proliferation,migration,and invasion of cervical cancer cells partly by upregulating the transcription of TNFRSF11a.

Reyes ME, Fujii T, Branstetter D, et al.
Poor prognosis of patients with triple-negative breast cancer can be stratified by RANK and RANKL dual expression.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017; 164(1):57-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: As clinical studies have correlated RANK expression levels with survival in breast cancer, and that RANK signaling is dependent on its cognate ligand RANKL, we hypothesized that dual protein expression further stratifies the poor outcome in TNBC.
METHODS: RANK mRNA and protein expression was evaluated in TNBC using genomic databases, cell lines and in a tissue microarray of curated primary tumor samples derived from 87 patients with TNBC. RANK expression was evaluated either by Mann-Whitney U test on log-normalized gene expression data or by Student's t test on FACS data. Analysis of RANK and RANKL immunostaining was calculated by H-score, and correlations to clinical factors performed using χ
RESULTS: In three distinct datasets spanning 684 samples, RANK mRNA expression was higher in primary tumors derived from TNBC patients than from those with other molecular subtypes (P < 0.01). Cell surface-localized RANK protein was consistently higher in TNBC cell lines (P = 0.037). In clinical samples, TNBC patients that expressed both RANK and RANKL proteins had significantly worse RFS (P = 0.0032) and OS (P = 0.004) than patients with RANK-positive, RANKL-negative tumors. RANKL was an independent, poor prognostic factor for RFS (P = 0.04) and OS (P = 0.01) in multivariate analysis in samples that expressed both RANK and RANKL.
CONCLUSIONS: RANK and RANKL co-expression is associated with poor RFS and OS in patients with TNBC.

Cuyàs E, Corominas-Faja B, Martín MM, et al.
BRCA1 haploinsufficiency cell-autonomously activates RANKL expression and generates denosumab-responsive breast cancer-initiating cells.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(21):35019-35032 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Denosumab, a monoclonal antibody to the receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL), might be a novel preventative therapy for BRCA1-mutation carriers at high risk of developing breast cancer. Beyond its well-recognized bone-targeted activity impeding osteoclastogenesis, denosumab has been proposed to interfere with the cross-talk between RANKL-producing sensor cells and cancer-initiating RANK+ responder cells that reside within premalignant tissues of BRCA1-mutation carriers. We herein tested the alternative but not mutually exclusive hypothesis that BRCA1 deficiency might cell-autonomously activate RANKL expression to generate cellular states with cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties. Using isogenic pairs of normal-like human breast epithelial cells in which the inactivation of a single BRCA1 allele results in genomic instability, we assessed the impact of BRCA1 haploinsufficiency on the expression status of RANK and RANKL. RANK expression remained unaltered but RANKL was dramatically up-regulated in BRCA1mut/+ haploinsufficient cells relative to isogenic BRCA1+/+ parental cells. Neutralizing RANKL with denosumab significantly abrogated the ability of BRCA1 haploinsufficient cells to survive and proliferate as floating microtumors or "mammospheres" under non-adherent/non-differentiating conditions, an accepted surrogate of the relative proportion and survival of CSCs. Intriguingly, CSC-like states driven by epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition or HER2 overexpression traits responded to some extent to denosumab. We propose that breast epithelium-specific mono-allelic inactivation of BRCA1 might suffice to cell-autonomously generate RANKL-addicted, denosumab-responsive CSC-like states. The convergent addiction to a hyperactive RANKL/RANK axis of CSC-like states from genetically diverse breast cancer subtypes might inaugurate a new era of cancer prevention and treatment based on denosumab as a CSC-targeted agent.

Hou JY, Wang YG, Ma SJ, et al.
Identification of a prognostic 5-Gene expression signature for gastric cancer.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2017; 143(4):619-629 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Gastric cancer (GC) is a major tumor throughout the world with remaining high morbidity and mortality. The aim is to generate a gene model to assess the prognoses risk of patients with GC.
METHODS: Gene expression profiling of gastric cancer patients, GSE62254 (300 samples) and GSE26253 (432 samples), was downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Univariate survival analysis and LASSO (Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selectionator operator) (1000 iterations) of differentially expressed genes in GSE62254 was assessed using survival and glmnet in R package, respectively. Kaplan-Meier analysis on the clustering algorithm from each regression model was performed to calculate the influence to the prognosis. Random samples in GSE26253 were analyzed in multivariate and univariate survival analysis for one thousand times to calculate statistical stability of each regression model.
RESULTS: A total of 854 Genes were identified differentially expressed in GSE62254, among which 367 Genes were found influencing the prognoses. Six gene clusters were selected with good stability. Hereinto, five or more genes in 11-Gene model, TRPC1, SGCE, TNFRSF11A, LRRN1, HLF, CYS1, PPP1R14A, NOV, NBEA, CES1 and RGN, was available to evaluate the prognostic risk of GC patients in GSE26253 (P = 0.00445). The validity and reliability was validated.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we successfully generated a stable 5-Gene model, which could be utilized to predict prognosis of GC patients and would contribute to postoperational treatment and follow-up strategies.

Kiechl S, Schramek D, Widschwendter M, et al.
Aberrant regulation of RANKL/OPG in women at high risk of developing breast cancer.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(3):3811-3825 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Breast cancer is the most common female cancer, affecting approximately one in eight women during their lifetime in North America and Europe. Receptor Activator of NF-kB Ligand (RANKL), its receptor RANK and the natural antagonist osteoprotegerin (OPG) are essential regulators of bone resorption. We have initially shown that RANKL/RANK are essential for hormone-driven mammary epithelial proliferation in pregnancy and RANKL/RANK have been implicated in mammary stem cell biology. Using genetic mouse-models, we and others identified the RANKL/RANK system as a key regulator of sex hormone, BRCA1-mutation, and oncogene-driven breast cancer and we proposed that RANKL/RANK might be involved in the initiation of breast tumors. We now report that in postmenopausal women without known genetic predisposition, high RANKL and progesterone serum levels stratify a subpopulation of women at high risk of developing breast cancer 12-24 months before diagnosis (5.33-fold risk, 95%CI 1.5-25.4; P=0.02). In women with established breast cancer, we demonstrate that RANKL/OPG ratios change dependent on the presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Finally, we show in a prospective human breast cancer cohort that alterations in RANKL/OPG ratios are significantly associated with breast cancer manifestation. These data indicate that the RANKL/RANK/OPG system is deregulated in post-menopausal women at high risk for breast cancer and in women with circulating tumor cells. Thus, serum levels of RANKL/OPG are potentially indicative of predisposition and progression of breast cancer in humans. Advancement of our findings towards clinical application awaits prior validation in independent patient cohorts.

Nolan E, Vaillant F, Branstetter D, et al.
RANK ligand as a potential target for breast cancer prevention in BRCA1-mutation carriers.
Nat Med. 2016; 22(8):933-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Individuals who have mutations in the breast-cancer-susceptibility gene BRCA1 (hereafter referred to as BRCA1-mutation carriers) frequently undergo prophylactic mastectomy to minimize their risk of breast cancer. The identification of an effective prevention therapy therefore remains a 'holy grail' for the field. Precancerous BRCA1(mut/+) tissue harbors an aberrant population of luminal progenitor cells, and deregulated progesterone signaling has been implicated in BRCA1-associated oncogenesis. Coupled with the findings that tumor necrosis factor superfamily member 11 (TNFSF11; also known as RANKL) is a key paracrine effector of progesterone signaling and that RANKL and its receptor TNFRSF11A (also known as RANK) contribute to mammary tumorigenesis, we investigated a role for this pathway in the pre-neoplastic phase of BRCA1-mutation carriers. We identified two subsets of luminal progenitors (RANK(+) and RANK(-)) in histologically normal tissue of BRCA1-mutation carriers and showed that RANK(+) cells are highly proliferative, have grossly aberrant DNA repair and bear a molecular signature similar to that of basal-like breast cancer. These data suggest that RANK(+) and not RANK(-) progenitors are a key target population in these women. Inhibition of RANKL signaling by treatment with denosumab in three-dimensional breast organoids derived from pre-neoplastic BRCA1(mut/+) tissue attenuated progesterone-induced proliferation. Notably, proliferation was markedly reduced in breast biopsies from BRCA1-mutation carriers who were treated with denosumab. Furthermore, inhibition of RANKL in a Brca1-deficient mouse model substantially curtailed mammary tumorigenesis. Taken together, these findings identify a targetable pathway in a putative cell-of-origin population in BRCA1-mutation carriers and implicate RANKL blockade as a promising strategy in the prevention of breast cancer.

Renema N, Navet B, Heymann MF, et al.
RANK-RANKL signalling in cancer.
Biosci Rep. 2016; 36(4) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Oncogenic events combined with a favourable environment are the two main factors in the oncological process. The tumour microenvironment is composed of a complex, interconnected network of protagonists, including soluble factors such as cytokines, extracellular matrix components, interacting with fibroblasts, endothelial cells, immune cells and various specific cell types depending on the location of the cancer cells (e.g. pulmonary epithelium, osteoblasts). This diversity defines specific "niches" (e.g. vascular, immune, bone niches) involved in tumour growth and the metastatic process. These actors communicate together by direct intercellular communications and/or in an autocrine/paracrine/endocrine manner involving cytokines and growth factors. Among these glycoproteins, RANKL (receptor activator nuclear factor-κB ligand) and its receptor RANK (receptor activator nuclear factor), members of the TNF and TNFR superfamilies, have stimulated the interest of the scientific community. RANK is frequently expressed by cancer cells in contrast with RANKL which is frequently detected in the tumour microenvironment and together they participate in every step in cancer development. Their activities are markedly regulated by osteoprotegerin (OPG, a soluble decoy receptor) and its ligands, and by LGR4, a membrane receptor able to bind RANKL. The aim of the present review is to provide an overview of the functional implication of the RANK/RANKL system in cancer development, and to underline the most recent clinical studies.

Sigl V, Owusu-Boaitey K, Joshi PA, et al.
RANKL/RANK control Brca1 mutation- .
Cell Res. 2016; 26(7):761-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Breast cancer is the most common female cancer, affecting approximately one in eight women during their life-time. Besides environmental triggers and hormones, inherited mutations in the breast cancer 1 (BRCA1) or BRCA2 genes markedly increase the risk for the development of breast cancer. Here, using two different mouse models, we show that genetic inactivation of the key osteoclast differentiation factor RANK in the mammary epithelium markedly delayed onset, reduced incidence, and attenuated progression of Brca1;p53 mutation-driven mammary cancer. Long-term pharmacological inhibition of the RANK ligand RANKL in mice abolished the occurrence of Brca1 mutation-driven pre-neoplastic lesions. Mechanistically, genetic inactivation of Rank or RANKL/RANK blockade impaired proliferation and expansion of both murine Brca1;p53 mutant mammary stem cells and mammary progenitors from human BRCA1 mutation carriers. In addition, genome variations within the RANK locus were significantly associated with risk of developing breast cancer in women with BRCA1 mutations. Thus, RANKL/RANK control progenitor cell expansion and tumorigenesis in inherited breast cancer. These results present a viable strategy for the possible prevention of breast cancer in BRCA1 mutant patients.

Ferreira A, Alho I, Vendrell I, et al.
The prognostic role of RANK SNP rs34945627 in breast cancer patients with bone metastases.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(27):41380-41389 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Receptor activator of NF-kB (RANK) pathway regulates bone remodeling and is involved in breast cancer (BC) progression. Genetic polymorphisms affecting RANK-ligand (RANKL) and osteoprotegerin (OPG) have been previously associated with BC risk and bone metastasis (BM)-free survival, respectively. In this study we conducted a retrospective analysis of the association of five missense RANK SNPs with clinical characteristics and outcomes in BC patients with BM. SNP rs34945627 had an allelic frequency of 12.5% in BC patients, compared to 1.2% in the control group (P = 0.005). SNP rs34945627 was not associated with any clinicopathological characteristics, but patients presenting SNP rs34945627 had decreased disease-free survival (DFS) (log-rank P = 0.039, adjusted HR 2.29, 95% CI 1.04-5.08, P = 0.041), and overall survival (OS) (log-rank P = 0.019, adjusted HR 4.32, 95% CI 1.55-12.04, P = 0.005). No differences were observed regarding bone disease-free survival (log-rank P = 0.190, adjusted HR 1.68, 95% CI 0.78-3.66, P = 0.187), time to first skeletal-related event (log-rank P = 0.753, adjusted HR 1.28, 95% CI 1.42-3.84; P = 0.665), or time to bone progression (log-rank P = 0.618, adjusted HR 0.511, 95% CI 0.17-1.51; P = 0.233). Our analysis shows that RANK SNP rs34945627 has a high allelic frequency in patients with BC and BM, and is associated with decreased DFS and OS.

Liu Y, Wang J, Ni T, et al.
CCL20 mediates RANK/RANKL-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in endometrial cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(18):25328-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RANK/RANKL facilitates migration/invasion via epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in certain malignant tumors. The relationship and mechanism between RANK/RANKL and EMT in endometrial cancer (EC) cells, however, remain unclear. In this study, we firstly showed that RANK/RANKL activation was correlated with EC staging and EMT markers in human EC tissue specimen. RANK/RANKL promoted migration/invasion and initiated EMT of EC cell lines. Then, protein chip analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) revealed that the expression and secretion of chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20) was dramatically enhanced in RANKL-treated RANK over-expressed EC cells. Moreover, the higher level of CCL20 in both serum and tumor tissue was detected in orthotopic transplantation mouse models. Finally, we confirmed that CCL20 contributed to invasion and EMT of RANK over-expressed EC cells. In summary, all data supported the hypothesis that RANK/RANKL elevated the expression and secretion of CCL20 in EC cells, which promoted cancer progression through EMT.

Tsubaki M, Takeda T, Yoshizumi M, et al.
RANK-RANKL interactions are involved in cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance in multiple myeloma cell lines.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(7):9099-110 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interaction between multiple myeloma (MM) cells and the bone marrow microenvironment plays a critical role in MM pathogenesis and the development of drug resistance. Recently, it has been reported that MM cells express the receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) (RANK). However, the role of the RANK/RANK ligand (RANKL) system in drug resistance remains unclear. In this study, we demonstrated a novel function of the RANK/RANKL system in promoting drug resistance in MM. We found that RANKL treatment induced drug resistance in RANK-expressing but not RANK-negative cell lines. RANKL stimulation of RANK-expressing cells increased multidrug resistance protein 1 (MDR1), breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP), and lung resistance protein 1 (LRP1) expression and decreased Bim expression through various signaling molecules. RNA silencing of Bim expression induced drug resistance, but the RANKL-mediated drug resistance could not be overcome through the RNA silencing of MDR1, BCRP, and LRP1 expression. These results indicate that the RANK/RANKL system induces chemoresistance through the activation of multiple signal transduction pathways and by decreasing Bim expression in RANK-positive MM cells. These findings may prove to be useful in the development of cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance inhibitors in RANK-positive MM cells.

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