Biomechanical forces in the skeleton and their relevance to bone metastasis: biology and engineering considerations

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2014 Dec 15;79-80:119-34. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2014.08.009. Epub 2014 Aug 29.


Bone metastasis represents the leading cause of breast cancer related-deaths. However, the effect of skeleton-associated biomechanical signals on the initiation, progression, and therapy response of breast cancer bone metastasis is largely unknown. This review seeks to highlight possible functional connections between skeletal mechanical signals and breast cancer bone metastasis and their contribution to clinical outcome. It provides an introduction to the physical and biological signals underlying bone functional adaptation and discusses the modulatory roles of mechanical loading and breast cancer metastasis in this process. Following a definition of biophysical design criteria, in vitro and in vivo approaches from the fields of bone biomechanics and tissue engineering that may be suitable to investigate breast cancer bone metastasis as a function of varied mechano-signaling will be reviewed. Finally, an outlook of future opportunities and challenges associated with this newly emerging field will be provided.

Keywords: Biomechanics; Bone metastasis; Breast cancer; Mechanical loading; Tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone Neoplasms / therapy
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Tissue Engineering*