Cancer is one of the major leading causes of death all over the world. Primary and secondary bone tumors can significantly deteriorate the quality of life (QOL) and the activity of daily living (ADL) of the patients. These unwelcome diseases become a social and economic burden seriously. Thus, more effective therapies for both primary and secondary bone tumors are actually required. Bone homeostasis depends on the strictly balanced activities between bone formation by osteoblasts and bone resorption by osteoclasts. Imbalance of bone formation and resorption results in various bone diseases. Both primary and secondary bone tumors develop in the unique environment bone, it is therefore necessary to understand bone cell biology in tumoral bone environment. Recent findings strongly revealed the significant involvement of the receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL)/RANK/osteoprotegerin (OPG) triad, the key regulators of bone remodeling in bone oncology. Indeed, RANKL/RANK blocking successfully prevented the development of bone metastases. Furthermore, some cancer cells express RANK which is involved in tumor cell migration. Thus, the regulation of this triad will be a rational, encouraged therapeutic hot spot in bone oncology. In this review, we summarize the accumulating knowledge of the RANKL/RANK/OPG triad and discuss about its therapeutic capability in primary and secondary bone tumors.
Keywords: RANKL, RANK, OPG, cancer, bone metastasis, osteoclast, vicious cycle, steosarcoma
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