One approach being considered as a new way to treat osteoporosis is the development of molecules that block the action of proteins that inhibit the Wnt signaling pathway. However, dysregulated Wnt signaling is associated with several cancers.
Further, David Thomas and colleagues, at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Australia, have now shown that the gene responsible for making the Wnt signaling pathway inhibitor WIF1 is silenced in human osteosarcomas (the most common form of bone cancer) and that its absence in mice accelerated the development of radiation-induced osteosarcomas.
The authors therefore conclude that targeting Wnt signaling pathway inhibitors is likely to increase susceptibility to osteosarcomas.
Thus, both the authors and, in an accompany commentary, Greg Enders, at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, note that caution is needed before this approach is used in clinical trials to treat patients with bone loss disorders such as osteoporosis.
The research is published in the March 23, 2009, issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
- Kansara et al. Wnt inhibitory factor 1 is epigenetically silenced in human osteosarcoma, and targeted disruption accelerates osteosarcomagenesis in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2009; DOI: 10.1172/JCI37175
- Greg H. Enders. Wnt therapy for bone loss: golden goose or Trojan horse? Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2009; DOI: 10.1172/JCI38973
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