A potential role for Dkk-1 in the pathogenesis of osteosarcoma predicts novel diagnostic and treatment strategies. Academic Article uri icon


  • Canonical Wnt signalling is an osteoinductive signal that promotes bone repair through acceleration of osteogenic differentiation by progenitors. Dkk-1 is a secreted inhibitor of canonical Wnt signalling and thus inhibits osteogenesis. To examine a potential osteoinhibitory role of Dkk-1 in osteosarcoma (OS), we measured serum Dkk-1 in paediatric patients with OS (median age, 13.4 years) and found it to be significantly elevated. We also found that Dkk-1 was maximally expressed by the OS cells at the tumour periphery and in vitro, Dkk-1 and RANKL are coexpressed by rapidly proliferating OS cells. Both Dkk-1 and conditioned media from OS cells reduce osteogenesis by human mesenchymal cells and by immunodepletion of Dkk-1, or by adding a GSK3beta inhibitor, the effects of Dkk-1 were attenuated. In mice, we found that the expression of Dkk-1 from implanted tumours was similar to the human tumour biopsies in that human Dkk-1 was present in the serum of recipient animals. These data demonstrate that systemic levels of Dkk-1 are elevated in OS. Furthermore, the expression of Dkk-1 by the OS cells at the periphery of the tumour probably contributes to its expansion by inhibiting repair of the surrounding bone. These data demonstrate that Dkk-1 may serve as a prognostic or diagnostic marker for evaluation of OS and furthermore, immunodepletion of Dkk-1 or administration of GSK3beta inhibitors could represent an adjunct therapy for this disease.

published proceedings

  • Br J Cancer

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, N., Smolarz, A. J., Olson, S., David, O., Reiser, J., Kutner, R., ... Gregory, C. A

citation count

  • 59

complete list of authors

  • Lee, N||Smolarz, AJ||Olson, S||David, O||Reiser, J||Kutner, R||Daw, NC||Prockop, DJ||Horwitz, EM||Gregory, CA

publication date

  • December 2007