Pathobiology of osteolytic and osteoblastic bone metastases

Antonella Chiechi, Theresa A. Guise

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Some of the most common cancer types have a propensity to metastasize to bone. When cancer metastasizes to bone, it causes osteolysis and abnormal new bone formation. The phenotypes of deregulated bone resorption and new bone formation are the two extremes of the spectrum, but bone metastases are usually heterogeneous and patients will present with both osteolytic and osteoblastic lesions at the histologic examination. The molecular basis of this preferential growth of cancer cells in the bone microenvironment has been an area of active investigation. Although the precise molecular mechanisms underlying this process remain to be elucidated, it is now being recognized that the unique characteristics of the bone niche provide homing signals to cancer cells and create a microenvironment conducive for the cancer cells to colonize. Concomitantly, cancer cells release several regulatory factors that result in abnormal bone destruction and/or formation. This complex bidirectional interplay between tumor cells and bone microenvironment establishes a “vicious cycle” that leads to a selective growth advantage for the cancer cells. The molecular insights gained on the underpinnings of bone metastasis in recent years have also provided us with paths to design innovative approaches for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMetastatic Bone Disease
Subtitle of host publicationAn Integrated Approach to Patient Care
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781461456629
ISBN (Print)9781461456612
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Bone metastasis
  • Osteoblastic metastases
  • Osteoblasts
  • Osteoclasts
  • Osteolytic metastases
  • PTHrP
  • Pre-metastatic niche
  • TGFβ
  • Vicious cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Chiechi, A., & Guise, T. A. (2015). Pathobiology of osteolytic and osteoblastic bone metastases. In Metastatic Bone Disease: An Integrated Approach to Patient Care (pp. 15-35). Springer New York.