A blocking antibody to nerve growth factor attenuates skeletal pain induced by prostate tumor cells growing in bone

Kyle G. Halvorson, Kazufumi Kubota, Molly A. Sevcik, Theodore H. Lindsay, Julio E. Sotillo, Joseph R. Ghilardi, Thomas J. Rosol, Leila Boustany, David L. Shelton, Patrick W. Mantyh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

201 Scopus citations


Prostate cancer is unique in that bone is often the only clinically detectable site of metastasis. Prostate tumors that have metastasized to bone frequently induce bone pain which can be difficult to fully control as it seems to be driven simultaneously by inflammatory, neuropathic, and tumorigenic mechanisms. As nerve growth factor (NGF) has been shown to modulate inflammatory and some neuropathic pain states in animal models, an NGF-sequestering antibody was administered in a prostate model of bone cancer where significant bone formation and bone destruction occur simultaneously in the mouse femur. Administration of a blocking antibody to NGF produced a significant reduction in both early and late stage bone cancer pain-related behaviors that was greater than or equivalent to that achieved with acute administration of 10 or 30 mg/kg of morphine sulfate. In contrast, this therapy did not influence tumor-induced bone remodeling, osteoblast proliferation, osteoclastogenesis, tumor growth, or markers of sensory or sympathetic innervation in the skin or bone. One rather unique aspect of the sensory innervation of bone, that may partially explain the analgesic efficacy of anti-NGF therapy in relieving prostate cancer-induced bone pain, is that nearly all nerve fibers that innervate the bone express trkA and p75, and these are the receptors through which NGF sensitizes and/or activates nociceptors. The present results suggest that anti-NGF therapy may be effective in reducing pain and enhancing the quality of life in patients with prostate tumor-induced bone cancer pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9426-9435
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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