Therapy-induced senescence drives bone loss

Zhangting Yao, Bhavna Murali, Qihao Ren, Xianmin Luo, Douglas V. Faget, Tom Cole, Biancamaria Ricci, Dinesh Thotala, Joseph Monahan, Jan M. Van Deursen, Darren Baker, Roberta Faccio, Julie K. Schwarz, Sheila A. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Chemotherapy is important for cancer treatment, however, toxicities limit its use. While great strides have been made to ameliorate the acute toxicities induced by chemotherapy, longterm comorbidities including bone loss remain a significant problem. Chemotherapy-driven estrogen loss is postulated to drive bone loss, but significant data suggests the existence of an estrogen-independent mechanism of bone loss. Using clinically relevant mouse models, we showed that senescence and its senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) contribute to chemotherapy-induced bone loss that can be rescued by depleting senescent cells. Chemotherapy-induced SASP could be limited by targeting the p38MAPK-MK2 pathway, which resulted in preservation of bone integrity in chemotherapy-treated mice. These results transform our understanding of chemotherapy-induced bone loss by identifying senescent cells as major drivers of bone loss and the p38MAPK-MK2 axis as a putative therapeutic target that can preserve bone and improve a cancer survivor's quality of life. Significance: Senescence drives chemotherapy-induced bone loss that is rescued by p38MAPK or MK2 inhibitors. These findings may lead to treatments for therapy-induced bone loss, significantly increasing quality of life for cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1171-1182
Number of pages12
JournalCancer research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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