Osteoprotegerin (OPG), The Endogenous Inhibitor of Receptor Activator of NF-κB Ligand (RANKL), is Dysregulated in BRCA Mutation Carriers.


Breast cancer development in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers is a net consequence of cell-autonomous and cell nonautonomous factors which may serve as excellent targets for cancer prevention. In light of our previous data we sought to investigate the consequences of the BRCA-mutation carrier state on RANKL/osteoprotegerin (OPG) signalling. We analysed serum levels of RANKL, OPG, RANKL/OPG complex, oestradiol (E2), and progesterone (P) during menstrual cycle progression in 391 BRCA1/2-mutation carriers and 782 noncarriers. These studies were complemented by analyses of RANKL and OPG in the serum and mammary tissues of female cynomolgus macaques (n = 88) and serum RANKL and OPG in postmenopausal women (n = 150). BRCA-mutation carriers had lower mean values of free serum OPG in particular in BRCA1-mutation carriers (p = 0.018) compared with controls. Among BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, lower OPG levels were associated with germline mutation locations known to confer an increased breast cancer risk (p = 0.003). P is associated with low OPG levels in serum and tissue, particularly in BRCA-mutation carriers (rho = - 0.216; p = 0.002). Serum OPG levels were inversely correlated (rho = - 0.545, p < 0.001) with mammary epithelial proliferation measured by Ki67 expression and increased (p = 0.01) in postmenopause. The P-RANKL/OPG system is dysregulated in BRCA-mutation carriers. These and previously published data provide a strong rationale for further investigation of antiprogestogens or an anti-RANKL antibody such as denosumab for breast cancer prevention.

  • Burnell M
  • Cline M
  • Dougall WC
  • Dubeau L
  • Fraser L
  • Gareth Evans D
  • Jacobs IJ
  • Menon U
  • Pan Y
  • Philpott S
  • Reisel D
  • Rosenthal AN
  • Widschwendter M
  • Wood CE
  • Yi PC
PubMed ID
Appears In
EBioMedicine, 2015, 2 (10)