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Metastasis

Bone marrow niches in the regulation of bone metastasis

Abstract

The bone marrow has been widely recognised to host a unique microenvironment that facilitates tumour colonisation. Bone metastasis frequently occurs in the late stages of malignant diseases such as breast, prostate and lung cancers. The biology of bone metastasis is determined by tumour-cell-intrinsic traits as well as their interaction with the microenvironment. The bone marrow is a dynamic organ in which various stages of haematopoiesis, osteogenesis, osteolysis and different kinds of immune response are precisely regulated. These different cellular components constitute specialised tissue microenvironments—niches—that play critical roles in controlling tumour cell colonisation, including initial seeding, dormancy and outgrowth. In this review, we will dissect the dynamic nature of the interactions between tumour cells and bone niches. By targeting certain steps of tumour progression and crosstalk with the bone niches, the development of potential therapeutic approaches for the clinical treatment of bone metastasis might be feasible.

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Fig. 1: The normal bone marrow niche.
Fig. 2: The perivascular and endosteal niches in bone metastasis.
Fig. 3: Other cells in the bone metastatic niche.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the members of our laboratory for helpful discussions. We also apologise to the many investigators whose important studies could not be cited directly here owing to space limitations. Illustrations created with Biorender.com.

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F.C. and Y.H. co-wrote and revised the manuscript. Y.K. co-wrote and revised the manuscript and provided overall guidance.

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Correspondence to Yibin Kang.

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Y.K. holds equity interest in KayoThera and Firebrand Therapeutics.

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The work in the authors’ laboratory is supported by grants from the Brewster Foundation, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense to Y.K.

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Chen, F., Han, Y. & Kang, Y. Bone marrow niches in the regulation of bone metastasis. Br J Cancer 124, 1912–1920 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01329-6

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