Cancer Microenvironment

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 247–259

Contribution of Bone Tissue Modulus to Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bone

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12307-011-0078-3

Cite this article as:
Guelcher, S.A. & Sterling, J.A. Cancer Microenvironment (2011) 4: 247. doi:10.1007/s12307-011-0078-3


Certain tumors, such as breast, frequently metastasize to bone where they can induce bone destruction. Currently, it is well-accepted that the tumor cells are influenced by other cells and growth factors present in the bone microenvironment that lead to tumor-induced bone disease. Over the past 20 years, many groups have studied this process and determined the major contributing factors; however, these results do not fully explain the changes in gene expression and cell behavior that occur when tumor cells metastasize to bone. More recently, groups studying metastasis from soft tissue sites have determined that the rigidity of the microenvironment, which increases during tumor progression in soft tissue, can regulate tumor cell behavior and gene expression. Therefore, we began to investigate the role of the rigid bone extracellular matrix in the regulation of genes that stimulate tumor-induced bone disease. We found that the rigidity of bone specifically regulates parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) and Gli2 expression in a transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) and mechanotransduction-dependent mechanism. In this review, we summarize the mechanotransduction signaling pathway and how this influences TGF-β signaling and osteolytic gene expression.


Breast cancerTumor-induced bone diseasePTHrPModulusMechanotransductionRigidity

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringVanderbilt University, Stevenson CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Center for Bone BiologyVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Veterans AffairsTennessee Valley Healthcare System (VISN 9)NashvilleUSA
  5. 5.Department of Cancer BiologyVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA