Cancer Cells in Mice May Hitch a Ride with Bone-Healing Stem Cells

Andy Carstens in The Scientist:

Case studies showing bone metastasis following dental implant surgeries, as well as epidemiological studies indicating the risk of bone metastasis increases after experiencing bone fractures, have led researchers to posit that the process of bone remodeling after an injury could jumpstart cancer cell division. In a study published October 26 in Cancer Discovery, Zhang and his colleagues find that after a bone fracture, DTCs in mice hitch a ride with perivascular stem cells that the body dispatches to injury sites to begin the healing process. Once they reach the fracture site, cancer cells appear to proliferate in tandem with bone remodeling, during which damaged bone is resorbed and new bone forms in its place.

“This is a very important study because it validates clinical data which show that increased bone resorption promotes tumor growth in bone, and it provides a mechanism by which this can occur,” Theresa A. Guise, a cancer researcher who studies mechanisms of bone metastasis at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and who was not involved in this work,  writes in an email to The Scientist. “These results advance our understanding of bone metastases and indicate a possible reason why patients with bone metastases do poorly when they have a fracture.”

More here.