Animal Models of Bone Metastasis

Vet Pathol. 2015 Sep;52(5):827-41. doi: 10.1177/0300985815586223. Epub 2015 May 28.


Bone is one of the most common sites of cancer metastasis in humans and is a significant source of morbidity and mortality. Bone metastases are considered incurable and result in pain, pathologic fracture, and decreased quality of life. Animal models of skeletal metastases are essential to improve the understanding of the molecular pathways of cancer metastasis and growth in bone and to develop new therapies to inhibit and prevent bone metastases. The ideal animal model should be clinically relevant, reproducible, and representative of human disease. Currently, an ideal model does not exist; however, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the available models will lead to proper study design and successful cancer research. This review provides an overview of the current in vivo animal models used in the study of skeletal metastases or local tumor invasion into bone and focuses on mammary and prostate cancer, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and miscellaneous tumors that metastasize to bone.

Keywords: cancer; cat; dog; mammary; osteoblastic; parathyroid hormone–related protein; prostate; squamous cell carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone Neoplasms / veterinary*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / pathology
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Rats
  • X-Ray Microtomography / veterinary