Breast cancer metastasis to the bone: Mechanisms of bone loss

Yu Chi Chen, Donna M. Sosnoski, Andrea M. Mastro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

212 Scopus citations


Breast cancer frequently metastasizes to the skeleton, interrupting the normal bone remodeling process and causing bone degradation. Osteolytic lesions are the end result of osteoclast activity; however, osteoclast differentiation and activation are mediated by osteoblast production of RANKL (receptor activator for NFκB ligand) and several osteoclastogenic cytokines. Osteoblasts themselves are negatively affected by cancer cells as evidenced by an increase in apoptosis and a decrease in proteins required for new bone formation. Thus, bone loss is due to both increased activation of osteoclasts and suppression of osteoblasts. This review summarizes the current understanding of the osteolytic mechanisms of bone metastases, including a discussion of current therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number215
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 16 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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