Breast cancer cells can release a chemical that alters the structure of bones, making it easier for the cancer to spread, according to new laboratory research.
If confirmed in patients with breast cancer, it could lead to new ways to prevent the disease from spreading.
Building on previous findings, the scientists, based at the University of Sheffield, found that when breast cancer cells release a chemical called lysyl oxidase (LOX), it makes bone tissue a fertile ground for cancer cells to spread or metastasis.
An estimated 85 per cent of secondary breast cancers spread to the bone, and this can impact the success of treatment.
Reference: Cox, Thomas et al. The Hypoxic Cancer Secretome Induces Pre-Metastatic Bone Lesions Through Lysyl Oxidase. Nature (2015)