The invasiveness of glioblastoma is a major cause of poor prognosis and relapse. However, the molecular mechanism controlling glioma cell invasion is poorly understood. Here, we report that receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B (NFκB) ligand (RANKL) promotes glioma cell invasion in vivo, but not in vitro. Unlike the invasiveness under in vitro culture conditions, in vivo xenograft studies revealed that LN229 cells expressing high endogenous RANKL generated more invasive tumors than U87MG cells expressing relatively low endogenous RANKL. Consistently, RANKL-overexpressing U87MG resulted in invasive tumors, whereas RANKL-depleted LN229 generated rarely invasive tumors. We found that the number of activated astrocytes was markedly increased in the periphery of RANKL-high invasive tumors. RANKL activated astrocytes through NFκB signaling and these astrocytes in turn secreted various factors which regulate glioma cell invasion. Among them, transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling was markedly increased in glioblastoma specimens and xenograft tumors expressing high levels of RANKL. These results indicate that RANKL contributes to glioma invasion by modulating the peripheral microenvironment of the tumor, and that targeting RANKL signaling has important implications for the prevention of highly invasive glioblastoma.
- RANKL signaling
- Tumor-invasive microenvironment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research