A proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) is a ligand of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family that stimulates tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Expression of APRIL is highly upregulated in many tumors including colon and prostate carcinomas. Here we identify B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) and transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand (CAML) interactor (TACI), two predicted members of the TNF receptor family, as receptors for APRIL. APRIL binds BCMA with higher affinity than TACI. A soluble form of BCMA, which inhibits the proliferative activity of APRIL in vitro, decreases tumor cell proliferation in nude mice. Growth of HT29 colon carcinoma cells is blocked when mice are treated once per week with the soluble receptor. These results suggest an important role for APRIL in tumorigenesis and point towards a novel anticancer strategy.

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