EphA2 Is a Clinically Relevant Target for Breast Cancer Bone Metastatic Disease
Vaught DB., Merkel AR., Lynch CC., Edwards J., Tantawy MN., Hilliard T., Wang S., Peterson T., Johnson RW., Sterling JA., Brantley-Sieders D.
© 2021 The Authors. JBMR Plus published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. on behalf of American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) is highly expressed in breast tumor cells across multiple molecular subtypes and correlates with poor patient prognosis. In this study, the potential role of EphA2 in this clinically relevant phenomenon is investigated as metastasis of breast cancer to bone is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients. It was found that the EphA2 function in breast cancer cells promotes osteoclast activation and the development of osteolytic bone disease. Blocking EphA2 function molecularly and pharmacologically in breast tumors reduced the number and size of bone lesions and the degree of osteolytic disease in intratibial and intracardiac mouse models, which correlated with a significant decrease in the number of osteoclasts at the tumor–bone interface. EphA2 loss of function in tumor cells impaired osteoclast progenitor differentiation in coculture, which is mediated, at least in part, by reduced expression of IL-6. EPHA2 transcript levels are enriched in human breast cancer bone metastatic lesions relative to visceral metastatic sites; EphA2 protein expression was detected in breast tumor cells in bone metastases in patient samples, supporting the clinical relevance of the study's findings. These data provide a strong rationale for the development and application of molecularly targeted therapies against EphA2 for the treatment of breast cancer bone metastatic disease. © 2021 The Authors. JBMR Plus published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. on behalf of American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.