Osteolytic bone metastasis in breast cancer

Toshiyuki Yoneda, Akira Sasaki, Gregory R. Mundy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Citations (Scopus)


Metastasis of breast cancer cells to bone consists of multiple sequential steps. To accomplish the process of metastasis to bone, breast cancer cells are required to intrinsically possess or acquire the capacities that are necessary for them to proliferate, invade, migrate, survive, and ultimately arrest in bone. These capacities are essential for any cancer cells to develop distant metastases in organs such as lungs and liver as well as bone. Once breast cancer cells arrest in bone, bone is a storehouse of a variety of cytokines and growth factors and thus provides an extremely fertile environment for the cells to grow. However, breast cancer cells are unable to progress in bone unless they destroy bone with the assistance of bone-resorbing osteoclasts. Thus, the capacity of breast cancer cells to collaborate with osteoclasts is likely to be specific and is likely critical for them to cause osteolytic bone metastases. Evidence to support the concept that there is an intimate relationship between breast cancer cells and osteoclasts is described using an in vivo bone metastasis model in which human breast cancer cells are inoculated into the left ventricle of nude mice. The roles of cell adhesion molecules including cadherins and laminin and matrix metalloproteinases in the development of osteolytic bone metastases by breast cancer are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • bisphosphonates
  • bone resorption
  • breast cancer
  • cadherins
  • matrix metalloproteinases
  • osteoclasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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