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Abstract

Volume 14, Issue 3 (May 2012) 14, 423–427; 10.1038/aja.2011.164

The prostate cancer bone marrow niche: more than just 'fertile soil'

Elisabeth A Pedersen1, Yusuke Shiozawa1, Kenneth J Pienta2,* and Russell S Taichman1,*

1 Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1078, USA
2 Departments of Urology and Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1078, USA

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence: Dr RS Taichman, (rtaich@umich.edu)

Received 19 October 2011; Revised 12 December 2011; Accepted 13 December 2011; Advance online publication 27 February 2012

Abstract

The hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche in the bone marrow has been studied extensively over the past few decades, yet the bone marrow microenvironment that supports the growth of metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) has only been recently considered to be a specialized 'niche' as well. New evidence supports the fact that disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) of PCa actually target the HSC niche, displace the occupant HSCs and take up residence in the pre-existing niche space. This review describes some of the evidence and mechanisms by which DTCs act as molecular parasites of the HSC niche. Furthermore, the interactions between DTCs, HSCs and the niche may provide new targets for niche-directed therapy, as well as insight into the perplexing clinical manifestations of metastatic PCa disease.

Keywords: dormancy; hematopoietic stem cell; metastasis; niche; osteoblasts; prostate cancer

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