Expression pattern of receptor activator of NFκB (RANK) in a series of primary solid tumors and related bone metastases

Daniele Santini, Giuseppe Perrone, Ilaria Roato, Laura Godio, Francesco Pantano, Donatella Grasso, Antonio Russo, Bruno Vincenzi, Maria Elisabetta Fratto, Roberto Sabbatini, Chiara Della Pepa, Camillo Porta, Alessandro Del Conte, Gaia Schiavon, Alfredo Berruti, Rosa Maria Tomasino, Mauro Papotti, Nicola Papapietro, Andrea Onetti Muda, Vincenzo DenaroGiuseppe Tonini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Receptor activator of NFκB ligand (RANKL), RANK, and osteoprotegerin (OPG) represent the key regulators of bone metabolism both in normal and pathological conditions, including bone metastases. To our knowledge, no previous studies investigated and compared RANK expression in primary tumors and in bone metastases from the same patient. We retrospectively examined RANK expression by immunohistochemistry in 74 bone metastases tissues from solid tumors, mostly breast, colorectal, renal, lung, and prostate cancer. For 40 cases, tissue from the corresponding primary tumor was also analyzed. Sixty-six (89%) of the 74 bone metastases were RANK-positive and, among these, 40 (59.5%) showed more than 50% of positive tumor cells. The median percentage of RANK-positive cells was 60% in primary tumors and metastases, without any statistically significant difference between the two groups (P = 0.194). The same percentage was obtained by considering only cases with availability of samples both from primary and metastasis. Our study shows that RANK is expressed by solid tumors, with high concordance between bone metastasis and corresponding primary tumor. These data highlight the central role of RANK/RANKL/OPG pathway as potential therapeutic target not only in bone metastasis management, but also in the adjuvant setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-784
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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