Heparin-like polysaccharides reduce osteolytic bone destruction and tumor growth in a mouse model of breast cancer bone metastasis

Sirkku Pollari (Corresponding Author), Rami S. Käkönen, Khalid S. Mohammad, Jukka P. Rissanen, Jussi M. Halleen, Anni Wärri, Liisa Nissinen, Marjo Pihlavisto, Anne Marjamäki, Merja Perälä, Theresa A. Guise, Olli Kallioniemi, Sanna-Maria Käkönen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


TGF-β regulates several steps in cancer metastasis, including the establishment of bone metastatic lesions. TGF-β is released from bone during osteoclastic bone resorption and it stimulates breast cancer cells to produce osteolytic factors such as interleukin 11 (IL-11). We conducted a cell-based siRNA screen and identified heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase 2 (HS6ST2) as a critical gene for TGF-β–induced IL-11 production in highly bone metastatic MDA-MB-231(SA) breast cancer cells. HS6ST2 attaches sulfate groups to glucosamine residues in heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans. We subsequently showed how heparin and a high-molecular-weight Escherichia coli K5-derived heparin-like polysaccharide (K5-NSOS) inhibited TGF-β–induced IL-11 production in MDA-MB-231(SA) cells. In addition, K5-NSOS inhibited bone resorption activity of human osteoclasts in vitro. We evaluated the therapeutic potential of K5-NSOS and fragmin in a mouse model of breast cancer bone metastasis. MDA-MB-231(SA) cells were inoculated into the left cardiac ventricle of athymic nude mice which were treated with fragmin, K5-NSOS, or vehicle once a day for four weeks. Both heparin-like glycosaminoglycans inhibited weight reduction, decreased osteolytic lesion area, and reduced tumor burden in bone. In conclusion, our data imply novel mechanisms involved in TGF-β induction and support the critical role of heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans in cancer metastasis as well as indicate that K5-NSOS is a potential antimetastatic and antiresorptive agent for cancer therapy. This study illustrates the potential to translate in vitro siRNA screening results toward in vivo therapeutic concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-604
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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