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J Orthop Res. 2011 Aug;29(8):1259-66. doi: 10.1002/jor.21403. Epub 2011 Mar 8.

ROCK1 as a potential therapeutic target in osteosarcoma.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignancy of bone. Patients with localized disease are routinely treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, many of these patients eventually relapse even after high-dose pre- and postoperative chemotherapy. Upon recurrence of the tumor locally or distantly, they have limited treatment options that are usually unsuccessful. Our prior studies screening lentiviral shRNA libraries, searching for kinases involved in osteosarcoma cell growth and proliferation have identified the Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase 1 (ROCK1) as a possible hit. We show in this study that ROCK1 is highly expressed in various tumor cell lines and tumor tissues from osteosarcoma patients. ROCK1 knockdown by synthetic siRNA decreases cell proliferation, viability and induces apoptosis in osteosarcoma cell lines KHOS and U-2OS. Finally, we established the relationship between expression levels of ROCK1 and clinical prognosis in osteosarcoma patients by using immunohistochemistry. There were significant differences in overall survival between cohorts of patients with ROCK1 levels categorized as high-staining, moderate-staining, and low-staining. High levels of ROCK1 were associated with poor outcomes in clinical osteosarcoma. These findings suggest that knockdown of ROCK1 inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in osteosarcoma cell lines. ROCK1 may be a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of osteosarcoma patients.

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