When prostate cancer reaches bone, bone cells may drive overall growth of the disease
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IMAGE: Philip Owens, PhD shows that cells involved in bone metastases of prostate cancer may release signals that drive the progression of the disease. view more 

Credit: University of Colorado Cancer Center

When prostate cancer metastasizes to bone, it can become especially dangerous – not only with its action in the bone but, interestingly, with increased aggressiveness of the overall cancer itself. Now, research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2018 hints at why: Cells involved in these bone metastases may release signals that drive the progression of the disease.

“With prostate cancer, often a patient will come in with new bone growth, which can be really painful. What we show is that some of the same things that cause this new bone growth may help the cancer grow and spread,” says Philip Owens, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Denver Veterans Administration Hospital Research Program.

Specifically, Owens looked at growth factors called bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). As the name implies, BMPs aid the growth of healthy bone – and are even used to grow new bone in procedures like spinal fusion. But mutations that dysregulate BMP – both turning

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