Bone metastasis model with multiorgan dissemination of human small-cell lung cancer (SBC-5) cells in natural killer cell-depleted SCID mice

Oncol Res. 2000;12(5):209-17. doi: 10.3727/096504001108747701.


Lung cancer is commonly associated with multiorgan metastasis, and bone is a frequent metastatic site for lung cancer. Nevertheless, no bone metastasis model of lung cancer with multiorgan dissemination is available, which could provide opportunity to study the molecular pathogenesis. We examined the abilities of eight human lung cancer cell lines injected intravenously into natural killer (NK) cell-depleted SCID mice to generate metastatic nodules in bone and multiple organs, and explored the correlation of the parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) with the bone metastasis. Although all the small-cell carcinoma cell lines (SBC-5, SBC-3, SBC-3/ADM, H69, H69/VP) formed metastatic nodules in multiple organs (liver, kidney, and lymph nodes), only SBC-5 cells reproducibly developed bone metastases. Squamous cell carcinoma (RERF-LC-AI) cells metastasized mainly into the liver and kidneys, whereas adenocarcinoma (PC-14, A549) mainly produced colonies in the lungs. As assessed by X-ray photography, the osteolytic bone metastases produced by SBC-5 cells were detected as early as on day 28, and all recipient mice developed bone metastasis by day 35. The expression of PTHrP in eight cell lines was directly correlated with the formation of bone metastasis. No correlation was observed between the formation of bone metastasis and the expression of other metastasis-related cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-11, TNF-alpha, VEGF, M-CSF). Consistent with the formation of bone metastasis by SBC-5 cells, the levels of PTHrP and calcium in the mouse serum were increased in a time-dependent manner, suggesting that PTHrP produced by human lung cancer may play a crucial role in the formation of bone metastasis and hypercalcemia. These findings indicate that a bone metastasis model of SBC-5 cells may be useful for clarifying the molecular aspects of the metastatic processes in different organ microenvironments and the development of therapeutic modalities for lung cancer patients with bone metastases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / metabolism
  • Kidney Neoplasms / secondary
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency / immunology
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Cytokines
  • PTHLH protein, human
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein
  • Proteins
  • Calcium