Bone remains one of the major sites, and most lethal host organs, for prostate cancer metastasis. Prostate cell spread and establishment in bone depends on multiple reciprocal modifications of bone stromal and epithelial cancer cell behaviors. This review focuses on recent advances in the characterization of cell–cell and cell–matrix interplay, effects on cell growth, adhesion and invasion, and several therapeutic possibilities for co-targeting prostate cancer cells and bone stroma. We address the topic from three main perspectives: (1) the normal and aging bone stromal environment, (2) the “reactive” bone stromal environment, and (3) the cancerous prostate epithelial cells themselves. First, normal, and especially aging, bones provide uniquely rich and “fertile soil” for roaming cancer cells. The interactions between prostate cancer cells and insoluble extracellular matrices, soluble growth factors, and/or sex steroid hormones trigger bone remodeling, through increased osteoclastogenesis and furthur matrix metalloproteinase activity. Second, after cancer cell arrival and establishment in the bone, host stromal cells respond, becoming “reactive” in a process again involving extracellular matrix remodeling, together with growth factor and steroid receptor signaling this process ultimately enhances cancer cell migration, stromal transdifferentiation, and invasion of the cancer tissues by stromal, inflammatory, and immune-responsive cells. Third, prostate cancer cells also respond to supportive bone microenvironments, where soluble and matrix-associated molecules affect cancer cell growth and gene expression, especially altering cancer cell surface receptor and integrin-mediated cell signaling. We discuss both integrin cell–matrix and gap junctional cell–cell communication between cancer cells and their microenvironments during prostate cancer progression. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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