Researchers have identified a molecular mechanism that may explain why so many cancers spread to patients' bones -- they piggyback on signaling pathways that hematopoietic stem cells use to home to the bone marrow for self-renewal.
Representative histology of femurs with tumor indicated by arrows. (Scale bar equal to 500 micrometers.)
Image: Dunn et al., PLoS ONE 4(9), 2009, e6896.
The mechanism, discovered in prostate cancer cells and published online last week in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, may hold implications for a variety of cancers, including breast, lung and colon, which also tend to metastasize to bone tissue, and may have implications for the development of therapies to thwart cancer spread."This paper represents an important addition to our understanding of the bone metastatic process," linkurl:David Roodman,; director of the Center for Bone Biology at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center who was not involved in the study, said...
The ScientistCorrection: This article has been updated from its original version to correctly list the authors of the accompanying commentary in the as Laura G. Schuettpelz and Daniel C. Link. regrets the error.Y. Shiozawa, et al., "Human prostate cancer metastases target the hematopoietic stem cell niche to establish footholds in mouse bone marrow," linkurl:J Clin Invest,; doi:10.1172/JCI43414, 2011.

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