CXCL12-CXCR4 contributes to the implication of bone marrow in cancer metastasis

Future Oncol. 2014 Apr;10(5):749-59. doi: 10.2217/fon.13.193.


The CXCL12-CXCR4 axis is postulated to be a key pathway in the interaction between (cancer) stem cells and their surrounding supportive cells in the (cancer) stem cell niche. As the bone marrow constitutes a unique microenvironment for cancer cells, the CXCL12-CXCR4 axis assists the bone marrow in regulating cancer progression. This interaction can be disrupted by CXCR4 antagonists, and this concept is being used clinically to harvest hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells from the bone marrow. The functions of CXCL12-CXCR4 axis in cancer cell-tumor microenvironment interaction and angiogenesis have been recently studied. This review focuses on how CXCL12-CXCR4 helps the bone marrow in creating a tumor mircoenvironment that results in the cancer metastasis. It also discusses ongoing research regarding the clinical feasibility of CXCR4 inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Chemokine CXCL12 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / genetics*
  • Tumor Microenvironment / genetics*


  • CXCL12 protein, human
  • CXCR4 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Receptors, CXCR4