Bone Marrow Adipose Tissue: A New Player in Cancer Metastasis to Bone


The bone marrow is a favoured site for a number of cancers, including the haematological malignancy multiple myeloma, and metastasis of breast and prostate cancer. This specialized microenvironment is highly supportive, not only for tumour growth and survival but also for the development of an associated destructive cancer-induced bone disease. The interactions between tumour cells, osteoclasts and osteoblasts are well documented. By contrast, despite occupying a significant proportion of the bone marrow, the importance of bone marrow adipose tissue is only just emerging. The ability of bone marrow adipocytes to regulate skeletal biology and haematopoiesis, combined with their metabolic activity, endocrine functions, and proximity to tumour cells means that they are ideally placed to impact both tumours growth and bone disease. This review discusses the recent advances in our understanding of how marrow adipose tissue contributes to bone metastasis and cancer-induced bone disease.

John Robert
Managing Editor
European Journal of Clinical Oncology
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