Targeting bone metastases starting from the preneoplastic niche: home sweet home

Breast Cancer Res. 2011 Aug 16;13(4):111. doi: 10.1186/bcr2911.


The metastatic process is a multistep coordinated event with a high degree of efficiency. Specific subpopulations of cancer stem cells, with tumor-initiating and migratory capacity, can selectively migrate towards sites that are able to promote survival and/or proliferation of metastatic tumor cells through a microenvironment modification. Cross-talk between the bone microenvironment and cancer cells can facilitate bone tropism of cancer cells. Fully understanding this complexity represents a major challenge in anti-cancer research and a mandatory step towards the development of new drugs potentially able not only to reduce the consequences of bone lesions but also to target the metastatic process in visceral sites.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • RANK Ligand / metabolism
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B / metabolism


  • RANK Ligand
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • TNFRSF11A protein, human
  • TNFSF11 protein, human