Differential expression of osteopontin and bone sialoprotein in bone metastasis of breast and prostate carcinoma

Clin Exp Metastasis. 2003;20(5):437-44. doi: 10.1023/a:1025419708343.


Breast and prostate cancer often metastasise to the skeleton. Interestingly, the histopathological characteristics of the bone lesions that arise from these two cancer types differ. Breast tumours give rise to metastases in the skeleton with a mixed lytic/sclerotic pattern, whereas a predominantly sclerotic pattern is seen in metastases from prostate tumours. Osteopontin (OPN) and bone sialoprotein (BSP) are bone matrix proteins that have been implicated in the selective affinity of cancer cells for bone. In the present study, 21 patient cases with skeletal metastasis and their respective primary tumours (12 with breast cancer, 9 with prostate cancer) were investigated by immunohistochemistry in order to assess the level of OPN and BSP. Moderate to strong OPN expression was found in 42% of all breast tumours and in 56% of all prostate tumours. Significantly more breast cancer bone metastases exhibited high OPN expression, 83%, as compared with prostate tumour bone metastases, 11% (P = 0.0019). In contrast, moderate to strong BSP expression was found in 33% of breast tumours and in 89% of prostate tumours. In the bone lesions, only 33% of breast tumour metastases showed moderate/strong BSP expression compared to 100% of prostate tumour metastases (P = 0.0046). This divergent pattern of OPN/BSP expression could be an important determinant for the different characteristics of these two types of bone metastasis, i.e., lytic vs. sclerotic, consistent with the proposed role of OPN in differentiation and activation of osteoclasts and of BSP as a stimulator of bone mineralisation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Calcification, Physiologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Integrin-Binding Sialoprotein
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Osteopontin
  • Phenotype
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Sialoglycoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • IBSP protein, human
  • Integrin-Binding Sialoprotein
  • SPP1 protein, human
  • Sialoglycoproteins
  • Osteopontin