New perspectives on the molecular basis of hereditary bone tumours

Mol Med Today. 1999 Nov;5(11):481-6. doi: 10.1016/s1357-4310(99)01593-2.


Bone development is a highly regulated process sensitive to a wide variety of hormones, inflammatory mediators and growth factors. One of the most common hereditary skeletal dysplasias, hereditary multiple exostoses (HME), is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by skeletal malformations that manifest as bony, benign tumours near the end of long bones. HME is usually caused by defects in either one of two genes, EXT1 and EXT2, which encode enzymes that catalyse the biosynthesis of heparan sulphate, an important component of the extracellular matrix. Thus, HME-linked bone tumours, like many other skeletal dysplasias, probably result from disruptions in cell surface architecture. However, despite the recent success in unravelling functions for several members of the EXT gene family, significant challenges remain before this knowledge can be used to develop new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Biglycan
  • Bone Development / genetics
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 8 / genetics
  • Exostoses, Multiple Hereditary / genetics*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Female
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Heparitin Sulfate / biosynthesis
  • Heparitin Sulfate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Langer-Giedion Syndrome / genetics
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases*
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Proteoglycans / deficiency
  • Proteoglycans / genetics
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Trans-Activators*


  • BGN protein, human
  • Bgn protein, mouse
  • Biglycan
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • PTHLH protein, human
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein
  • Proteins
  • Proteoglycans
  • Trans-Activators
  • Heparitin Sulfate
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases
  • exostosin-1
  • exostosin-2