Wnt signaling and Loxl2 promote aggressive osteosarcoma
Kazuhiko Matsuoka, Latifa Bakiri, Lena I Wolff, Markus Linder, Amanda Mikels-Vigdal, Ana Patiño-García, Fernando Lecanda, Christine Hartmann, Maria Sibilia, Erwin F Wagner
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most frequent primary malignant bone tumor in urgent need of better therapies. Using genetically modified mouse models (GEMMs), we demonstrate that Wnt signaling promotes c-Fos-induced OS formation via the actions of the collagen-modifying enzyme Loxl2. c-Fos/AP-1 directly regulates the expression of the Wnt ligands Wnt7b and Wnt9a in OS cells through promoter binding, and Wnt7b and Wnt9a in turn promote Loxl2 expression in murine and human OS cells through the transcription factors Zeb1 and Zeb2.
Concordantly, inhibition of Wnt ligand secretion by inactivating the Wnt-less (Wls) gene in osteoblasts in c-Fos GEMMs either early or in a therapeutic setting reduces Loxl2 expression and progression of OS. Wls-deficient osteosarcomas proliferate less, are less mineralized and are enriched in fibroblastic cells surrounded by collagen fibers. Importantly, Loxl2 inhibition using either the pan-Lox inhibitor BAPN or a specific inducible shRNA reduces OS cell proliferation in vitro and decreases tumor growth and lung colonization in murine and human orthotopic OS transplantation models.
Finally, OS development is delayed in c-Fos GEMMs treated with BAPN or with specific Loxl2 blocking antibodies. Congruently, a strong correlation between c-FOS, LOXL2 and WNT7B/WNT9A expression is observed in human OS samples, and c-FOS/LOXL2 co-expression correlates with OS aggressiveness and decreased patient survival. Therefore, therapeutic targeting of Wnt and/or Loxl2 should be considered to potentiate the inadequate current treatments for pediatric, recurrent, and metastatic OS.