Bone medicine may have 2 uses
Amgen Inc.’s denosumab, approved to treat osteoporosis and being tested to reduce the spread of cancer to bones, may have potential to treat a type of breast tumor, early research suggests.
Mice with breast cancer fueled by the hormone progesterone had their tumors shrink when a protein called RANK ligand was blocked, according to a study by Amgen researchers published in the journal Nature. RANK ligand plays a key role in bone regeneration and is the target of denosumab, a drug that Amgen has made the focus of the biggest development program in its history.
The findings suggest the RANK ligand may be a driving force in breast cancers linked to progesterone and that stopping it, as denosumab does in osteoporosis, may treat the malignancy. The study, along with a similar paper published in Nature, suggests for the first time that denosumab may help a condition that has nothing to do with bone.