. 2019 May;249(1).
doi: 10.1002/path.5292.

From latency to overt bone metastasis in breast cancer: potential for treatment and prevention

Fernando Salvador 1 Alicia Llorente 1 Roger R Gomis 1 
  • PMID: 31095738
  •     131 References
  •     6 citations


Bone metastasis is present in a high percentage of breast cancer (BCa) patients with distant disease, especially in those with the estrogen receptor-positive (ER+ ) subtype. Most cells that escape primary tumors are unable to establish metastatic lesions, which suggests that target organ microenvironments are hostile for tumor cells. This implies that BCa cells must achieve a process of speciation to adapt to the new conditions imposed in the new organ. Bone has unique characteristics that can be exploited by cancer cells: it undergoes constant remodeling and comprises diverse environments (including osteogenic, perivascular, and hematopoietic stem cell niches). This allows colonizing cells to take advantage of numerous adhesion molecules, matrix proteins, and soluble factors that facilitate homing, survival, and, eventually, metastatic outgrowth. However, in most cases, metastatic lesions enter into a latency state that can last months, years, or even decades, before forming a clinically detectable macrometastasis. This dormant state challenges the effectiveness of adjuvant chemotherapy. Detecting which tumors are more prone to metastasize to bone and developing new specific therapies that target bone metastasis represent urgent clinical needs. Here, we review the biological mechanisms of BCa bone metastasis and provide the latest options of treatments and predictive markers that are currently in clinical use or are being tested in clinical assays. © 2019 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Keywords: biomarker; bisphosphonates; bone; breast cancer; dormancy; latency; metastasis.

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