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J Bone Miner Res. 2000 May;15(5):834-43.

Increased expression of bone sialoprotein in bone metastases compared with visceral metastases in human breast and prostate cancers.

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Metastasis Research Laboratory, University of Liège, Belgium.


The recent demonstration that bone sialoprotein (BSP) is expressed in osteotropic cancers suggests that this bone matrix protein might be implicated in the preferential seed and growth of metastatic cells in bone. High expression of BSP in breast and prostate primary carcinomas is associated with progression and bone metastases development. The exact mechanisms by which BSP may favor bone metastases formation are not clearly established yet. Although BSP expression has been detected in breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, and neuroblastoma primary tumors, no information regarding its expression in metastases is available to date. In this study, we have examined BSP expression in 15 bone and 39 visceral metastatic lesions harvested from 8 breast cancer patients and 7 prostate cancer patients who died of disseminated disease. We were able to retrieve the primary lesions from 5 of the 8 breast cancer patients as well as from all 7 prostate cancer patients. All the primary breast tumor patients and 5 of the 7 primary prostate cancer patients expressed a detectable level of BSP. Bone metastases from all 8 breast cancer patients and from 5 out of 7 prostate cancer patients exhibited detectable levels of the protein. Metastatic cells in close contact with bone trabeculae usually were highly positive for BSP. BSP also was detected in secondary lesions developed at visceral sites including liver, thyroid, lung, and adrenal glands. However, BSP expression was significantly lower in visceral metastases than in skeletal ones (Mann-Whitney test, p < 0.05). Our data represent the first demonstration of an increased expression of BSP in bone metastases compared with nonskeletal metastases in human breast and prostate cancers and add weight to the body of evidence attributing a significant role to this protein in the genesis of bone metastases.

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