In vitro co-culture models of breast cancer metastatic progression towards bone

Chiara Arrigoni, Simone Bersini, Mara Gilardi, Matteo Moretti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Advanced breast cancer frequently metastasizes to bone through a multistep process involving the detachment of cells from the primary tumor, their intravasation into the bloodstream, adhesion to the endothelium and extravasation into the bone, culminating with the establishment of a vicious cycle causing extensive bone lysis. In recent years, the crosstalk between tumor cells and secondary organs microenvironment is gaining much attention, being indicated as a crucial aspect in all metastatic steps. To investigate the complex interrelation between the tumor and the microenvironment, both in vitro and in vivo models have been exploited. In vitro models have some advantages over in vivo, mainly the possibility to thoroughly dissect in controlled conditions and with only human cells the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the metastatic progression. In this article we will review the main results deriving from in vitro co-culture models, describing mechanisms activated in the crosstalk between breast cancer and bone cells which drive the different metastatic steps.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1405
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Bone metastasis
  • Breast carcinoma
  • Co-culture
  • In vitro models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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