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Musculoskeletal Complications and Bone Metastases in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Estrogen Deprivation Therapy

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Technical Report,30 Sep 2015,29 Sep 2016

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Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis United States

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Aromatase inhibitors AIs cause muscle weakness, bone loss, and joint pain in up to half of cancer patients. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that increased osteoclastic bone resorption can impair muscle contractility and prime the bone microenvironment to accelerate metastatic growth. I hypothesized that AI-induced bone loss could increase breast cancer progression in bone and exacerbate muscle weakness associated with bone metastases. Female athymic nude mice underwent ovariectomy OVX or sham surgery and were treated with vehicle or AI letrozole Let. An OVXLet group was then further treated with bisphosphonate zoledronic acid Zol. At week three, trabecular bone volume was measured and mice were inoculated with MDA-MB-231 cells into the cardiac ventricle and followed for progression of bone metastases. Five weeks after tumor cell inoculation, tumor-induced osteolytic lesion area was increased in OVX-Let mice and reduced in OVX-Let-Zol mice compared to sham-vehicle. Tumor burden in bone was increased in OVX-Let mice relative to sham-vehicle and OVX-Let-Zol mice. At the termination of the study, muscle-specific force of the extensor digitorum longus muscle was reduced in OVX-Let mice compared to sham-vehicle mice, however, the addition of Zol improved muscle function. In summary, AI treatment induced bone loss and skeletal muscle weakness, recapitulating effects observed in cancer patients. Prevention of AI-induced osteoclastic bone resorption using a bisphosphonate attenuated the development of breast cancer bone metastases and improved muscle function in mice. These findings highlight the bone microenvironment as a modulator of tumor growth locally and muscle function systemically.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biochemistry

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