Some really great research going on at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California.
Healthy bone is continuously involved in a dynamic process that includes bone deposition and bone resorption. However, when a person has cancer that spreads to the bone and bone marrow, the tissue becomes increasingly fragile, and this process is disrupted, usually leading to increased bone resorption. Now investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California reported a surprising discovery, when neuroblastoma cells metastasize to the bone, there initially occurs an increase in bone deposition, not resorption. They also determined that this process is driven by a chemical messenger called VEGFA. The study is published in the International Journal of Cancer. Neuroblastoma is the most common extra-cranial solid tumour occurring during childhood and frequently metastasizes to the bone and bone marrow, making the disease more difficult for doctors to treat and conferring a worse prognosis for patients. Teams of scientists have been working to determine what causes a tumour to metastasize, knowing it is an interaction between tumour cells and the metastatic site, called the microenvironment.