- Giant Cell Tumor of Bone (GCT) is an aggressive skeletal tumor characterized by local bone destruction, high recurrence rates and metastatic potential. Previous work in our lab has shown that the neoplastic cell of GCT is a proliferating pre-osteoblastic stromal cell in which the transcription factor Runx2 plays a role in regulating protein expression. One of the proteins expressed by these cells is parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP). The objectives of this study were to determine the role played by PTHrP in GCT of bone with a focus on cell proliferation and apoptosis. Primary stromal cell cultures from 5 patients with GCT of bone and one lung metastasis were used for cell-based experiments. Control cell lines included a renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cell line and a human fetal osteoblast cell line. Cells were exposed to optimized concentrations of a PTHrP neutralizing antibody and were analyzed with the use of cell proliferation and apoptosis assays including mitochondrial dehydrogenase assays, crystal violet assays, APO-1 ELISAs, caspase activity assays, flow cytometry and immunofluorescent immunohistochemistry. Neutralization of PTHrP in the cell environment inhibited cell proliferation in a consistent manner and induced apoptosis in the GCT stromal cells, with the exception of those obtained from a lung metastasis. Cell cycle progression was not significantly affected by PTHrP neutralization. These findings indicate that PTHrP plays an autocrine/paracrine neoplastic role in GCT by allowing the proliferating stromal cells to evade apoptosis, possibly through non-traditional caspase-independent pathways. Thus PTHrP neutralizing immunotherapy is an intriguing potential therapeutic strategy for this tumor.