Metastatic cancers promote cachexia through ZIP14 upregulation in skeletal muscle

Gang Wang, Anup K. Biswas, Wanchao Ma, Manoj Kandpal, Courtney Coker, Paul M. Grandgenett, Michael A. Hollingsworth, Rinku Jain, Kurenai Tanji, Sara López-Pintado, Alain Borczuk, Doreen Hebert, Supak Jenkitkasemwong, Shintaro Hojyo, Ramana V. Davuluri, Mitchell D. Knutson, Toshiyuki Fukada, Swarnali Acharyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Patients with metastatic cancer experience a severe loss of skeletal muscle mass and function known as cachexia. Cachexia is associated with poor prognosis and accelerated death in patients with cancer, yet its underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we identify the metal-ion transporter ZRT- and IRT-like protein 14 (ZIP14) as a critical mediator of cancer-induced cachexia. ZIP14 is upregulated in cachectic muscles of mice and in patients with metastatic cancer and can be induced by TNF-α and TGF-β cytokines. Strikingly, germline ablation or muscle-specific depletion of Zip14 markedly reduces muscle atrophy in metastatic cancer models. We find that ZIP14-mediated zinc uptake in muscle progenitor cells represses the expression of MyoD and Mef2c and blocks muscle-cell differentiation. Importantly, ZIP14-mediated zinc accumulation in differentiated muscle cells induces myosin heavy chain loss. These results highlight a previously unrecognized role for altered zinc homeostasis in metastatic cancer-induced muscle wasting and implicate ZIP14 as a therapeutic target for its treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-781
Number of pages12
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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