ARTICLE | Cover Story

VCAM-1 engine drives bone metastases

January 12, 2012 8:00 AM UTC

A team lead by Princeton University researchers found that inhibiting signaling between vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and its receptor, integrin a4, prevented bone metastases in mouse models of breast cancer.1 Although further mechanistic studies are needed to determine whether the ligand or receptor will be the better cancer target, the findings represent a repurposing opportunity for the three integrin a4 inhibitors in the clinic or on the market to treat autoimmune diseases.

In breast cancer patients, primary tumor cells can metastasize to the bone and remain dormant for years or decades before growing into metastatic tumors. The molecular mechanisms driving tumor cell dormancy and reactivation in the bone microenvironment are poorly understood, in part because of a dearth of animal models that mimic those processes...