Key Factors in Breast Cancer Dissemination and Establishment at the Bone: Past, Present and Future Perspectives

  • Sioned Owen
  • Catherine Zabkiewicz
  • Lin Ye
  • Andrew J. Sanders
  • Chang Gong
  • Wen G. JiangEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1026)


Bone metastases associated with breast cancer remain a clinical challenge due to their associated morbidity, limited therapeutic intervention and lack of prognostic markers. With a continually evolving understanding of bone biology and its dynamic microenvironment, many potential new targets have been proposed. In this chapter, we discuss the roles of well-established bone markers and how their targeting, in addition to tumour-targeted therapies, might help in the prevention and treatment of bone metastases. There are a vast number of bone markers, of which one of the best-known families is the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). This chapter focuses on their role in breast cancer-associated bone metastases, associated signalling pathways and the possibilities for potential therapeutic intervention. In addition, this chapter provides an update on the role receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (RANK), RANK ligand (RANKL) and osteoprotegerin (OPG) play on breast cancer development and their subsequent influence during the homing and establishment of breast cancer-associated bone metastases. Beyond the well-established bone molecules, this chapter also explores the role of other potential factors such as activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) and its potential impact on breast cancer cells’ affinity for the bone environment, which implies that ALCAM could be a promising therapeutic target.


Breast cancer Bone metastasis BMPs OPG ALCAM 



Authors would like to thank Cancer Research Wales and the Life Sciences Research Network Wales for supporting their work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sioned Owen
    • 1
  • Catherine Zabkiewicz
    • 1
  • Lin Ye
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Sanders
    • 1
  • Chang Gong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wen G. Jiang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Cardiff University School of Medicine, CCMRCCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Sun Yat-sen Memorial HospitalSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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