Current Oncology Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 80–86 | Cite as

RANK Ligand: Effects of Inhibition

  • Saby GeorgeEmail author
  • Andrew Brenner
  • John Sarantopoulos
  • Ronald M. Bukowski


Receptor activator of nuclear factor κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B-cells (RANK) and its ligand (RANKL) belong to the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily. RANK mRNA is expressed widely in bone and bone marrow. It has a significant role in stimulating osteoclast differentiation and maturation, and also in preventing apoptosis. Because osteoclast activity is an important aspect of bone resorption in malignancy, targeting these cells is a good rationale for preventing skeletal-related events in malignancies. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of denosumab in preventing bone loss in mice and improving bone mineral density. Denosumab is a fully human monoclonal antibody against RANKL, which has been shown to be effective in reducing signaling via RANK and thus osteoclast activity. It has been demonstrated in large, randomized, phase 3 studies to be effective in preventing fractures and bone loss, and improving the bone mineral density in various cancerous and noncancerous settings. This article reviews the latest evidence of RANKL inhibition and its clinical implications.


RANK ligand Inhibition Osteoporosis Bone metastasis Monoclonal antibody 



Dr. Bukowski has been a consultant for Novartis and Amgen. He has also been a speaker for and received honoraria from Novartis.

No further potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saby George
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew Brenner
    • 1
  • John Sarantopoulos
    • 1
  • Ronald M. Bukowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Therapy and Research CenterUniversity of Texas Health Sciences CenterSan AntonioUSA

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