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Bonekey Rep. 2015 May 20;4:691. doi: 10.1038/bonekey.2015.59. eCollection 2015.

Cancer-associated muscle weakness: What's bone got to do with it?

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Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Indiana University School of Medicine , Indianapolis, IN, USA.


Cancer-associated muscle weakness is an important paraneoplastic syndrome for which there is currently no treatment. Tumor cells commonly metastasize to bone in advanced cancer to disrupt normal bone remodeling and result in morbidity that includes muscle weakness. Tumor in bone stimulates excessive osteoclast activity, which causes the release of growth factors stored in the mineralized bone matrix. These factors fuel a feed-forward vicious cycle of tumor growth in bone and bone destruction. Recent evidence indicates that these bone-derived growth factors can act systemically to cause muscle weakness. Muscle weakness can be caused by reduced muscle mass or reduced muscle function; in advanced disease, it is likely due to a combination of both reduced quantity and quality of muscle. In this review, we discuss possible mechanisms that lead to skeletal muscle weakness due to bone metastases.

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