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J Oral Biosci. 2019 Mar 5. pii: S1349-0079(19)30006-4. doi: 10.1016/j.job.2019.02.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Bone metastasis: interaction between cancer cells and bone microenvironment.

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Department of Histology and Cell Biology, Matsumoto Dental University, 1780 Gobara-Hirooka, Shiojiri, Nagano 399-0781, Japan. Electronic address:



Bone is one of the most common target organs for cancer metastasis, especially in patients with advanced breast and prostate cancers. Despite recent advances in therapeutic approaches, bone metastases remain incurable and produce multiple complications called skeletal-related events, including hypercalcemia, pathological fractures, spinal compression, and bone pain, which are associated with poor prognosis.


Although the precise mechanisms are yet to be fully elucidated, accumulating evidence suggests that bone provides a favorable microenvironment that enables circulating cancer cells to home, proliferate, and colonize, resulting in the formation of metastasis. Cancer cells that metastasize to bone also possess unique features, enabling them to utilize the bone microenvironment. Thus, communication between cancer cells and bone is believed to be critical for the development and progression of bone metastases.


Continued studies are warranted to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying bone metastases and to develop mechanism-based and effective therapeutic interventions.


bone metastasis; bone microenvironment; bone-derived growth factors; cancer stem cells; hypoxia


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