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Increased osteoclast activity is associated with aggressiveness of osteosarcoma

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Osteosarcoma (OS) is a highly malignant primary skeletal tumor with a striking tendency to rapidly destroy the surrounding bone and metastasize, since metastases are frequently present at clinical onset. The basis for the aggressiveness of this tumor is largely unknown. However, recent studies in in vivo models indicate that the anti-osteolytic drugs, bisphosphonates, can inhibit the tumor local expansion and the formation of metastases. We further investigated the association between the presence of active osteoclasts and the aggressiveness of OS. We evaluated the presence of osteoclasts and the mRNA of different osteoclast-related genes in tumor biopsies from 16 OS patients and in three OS cell lines and the serum levels of bone resorption markers in the same series and in 28 other patients. Tumor-associated osteoclasts were found in 63 and 75% of cases by histological and mRNA analysis. Among different serum markers, only MMP-9 was significantly higher in OS cases (p=0.0001), whereas TRACP 5b was significantly higher in metastatic patients compared to nonmetastatic patients (p=0.0509). Serum TRACP 5b was significantly correlated to serum NTX (p<0.0001) and cathepsin K mRNA in tumor tissues (p=0.0153). In 8 patients we also analyzed TRACP 5b serum level at follow-up and we verified a significant decrease of TRACP 5b after primary tumor removal (p=0.0117). In conclusion, tumor-infiltrating osteoclasts are frequently found in OS and increased serum TRACP 5b levels and the presence of active osteoclast at primary sites were positively associated with tumor aggressiveness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory for Pathophysiology, Istituti Ortopedici Rizzoli, 40136 Bologna, Italy., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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