IMR Press / FBL / Volume 29 / Issue 5 / DOI: 10.31083/j.fbl2905184
Open Access Review
From Tumor to Bone: Growth Factor Receptors as Key Players in Cancer Metastasis
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1 Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, 1153 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
*Correspondence: (Khalid Said Mohammad)
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2024, 29(5), 184;
Submitted: 28 December 2023 | Revised: 31 March 2024 | Accepted: 12 April 2024 | Published: 13 May 2024
Copyright: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

This review article explores the intricate correlation between growth factors and bone metastases, which play a crucial role in the development of several types of malignancies, namely breast, prostate, lung, and renal cancers. The focal point of our discussion is on crucial receptors for growth factors, including Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR), Transforming Growth Factor-β (TGFβ), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor (VEGFR), and Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor (FGFR). These receptors, which are essential for cellular activities including growth, differentiation, and survival, have important involvement in the spread of cancer and the interactions between tumors and the bone environment. We discuss the underlying mechanisms of bone metastases, with a specific emphasis on the interaction between growth factor receptors and the bone microenvironment. EGFR signaling specifically enhances the process of osteoclast development and the formation of osteolytic lesions, especially in breast and lung malignancies. TGFβ receptors have a role in both osteolytic and osteoblastic metastases by releasing TGFβ, which attracts cancer cells and promotes bone remodeling. This is a crucial element in the spread of prostate cancer to the bones. The functions of FGFR and VEGFR in the processes of bone formation and tumor angiogenesis, respectively, highlight the complex and diverse nature of these interactions. The review emphasizes the possibility of targeted therapeutics targeting these receptors to interrupt the cycle of tumor development and bone degradation. Therapeutic approaches include focusing on the VEGF/VEGFR, EGF/EGFR, FGF/FGFR, and TGFβ/TGFβR pathways. These include a variety of compounds, such as small molecule inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies, which have shown potential to interfere with tumor-induced alterations in bone. The text discusses clinical trials and preclinical models, offering insights into the effectiveness and constraints of various treatments. Ultimately, this study provides a succinct but thorough summary of the present knowledge and treatment strategies focused on growth factor receptors in bone metastases. This highlights the significance of comprehending the signaling of growth factor receptors in the microenvironment where tumors spread to the bones, as well as the possibility of using targeted therapies to enhance the results for cancer patients with bone metastases. The advancement of treating bone metastases hinges on the development of treatments that specifically target the intricate relationships between malignancies and bone.

transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ)
epidermal growth factor (EGF)
vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
fibroblast growth factor (FGF)
bone metastases
targeted therapies
Fig. 1.
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