Affiliations: 9Go to article
A bone to pick with prostate cancer
© KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Some types of bone tumours originating from prostate cancer send information to the surrounding cells inducing the formation of rigid bony lesions. Researchers at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University and colleagues have pinpointed one of the messengers.
The team found that the tumours send a small molecule of RNA, called hsa-miR-940, by means of tiny vesicles to surrounding cells. This tiny molecule targets two genes, suppressing the levels of proteins they encode and ultimately turning stem cells in the bone into bone-forming cells.
Bone metastases are a common progression of some types of cancer and can be osteoblastic, forming rigid bony lesions, or osteolytic, causing bone tissue to break down and become thin. Prostate cancer metastases are often osteoblastic, but it has not been entirely clear, until now, how metastatic cells induce the formation of thick bone. Understanding the mechanisms of bone metastasis can lead to the development of drugs that improve patient survival rates.
- PNAS 115, 2204–2209 (2018). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1717363115