Plumbagin inhibits osteoclastogenesis and reduces human breast cancer-induced osteolytic bone metastasis in mice through suppression of RANKL signaling

Bokyung Sung, Babatunde Oyajobi, Bharat B. Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Bone loss is one of the major complications of advanced cancers such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and multiplemyeloma; agents that can suppress this bone loss have therapeutic potential. Extensive research within the last decade has revealed that RANKL, amember of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily, plays amajor role in cancer-associated bone resorption and thus is a therapeutic target. We investigated the potential of vitamin K3 analogue plumbagin (derived from Chitrak, an Ayurvedic medicinal plant) to modulate RANKL signaling, osteoclastogenesis, and breast cancer-induced osteolysis. Plumbagin suppressed RANKL-induced NF-κB activation in mouse monocytes, an osteoclast precursor cell, through sequential inhibition of activation of IκBα kinase, IκBα phosphorylation, and IκBα degradation. Plumbagin also suppressed differentiation of these cells into osteoclasts induced either by RANKL or by human breast cancer or human multiple myeloma cells. When examined for its ability to prevent human breast cancer-induced bone loss in animals, plumbagin (2 mg/kg body weight) administered via the intraperitoneal route significantly decreased osteolytic lesions, resulting in preservation of bone volume in nude mice bearing human breast tumors. Overall, our results indicate that plumbagin, a vitamin K analogue, is a potent inhibitor of osteoclastogenesis induced by tumor cells and of breast cancer-induced osteolytic metastasis through suppression of RANKL signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-359
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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