Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 559–571 | Cite as

Skeletal metastasis: Established and emerging roles of parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP)



Parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP) is a well characterized tumor derived product that also has integral functions in normal development and homeostasis. PTHrP is produced by virtually all tumor types that metastasize to bone and numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between PTHrP expression and skeletal localization of tumors. PTHrP has prominent effects in bone via its interaction with the PTH-1 receptor on osteoblastic cells. Through indirect means, PTHrP supports osteoclastogenesis by upregulating the receptor activator of NFκB ligand (RANKL) in osteoblasts. PTHrP also regulates osteoblast proliferation and differentiation in manners that are temporal and dose dependent. Bone turnover has been implicated in the localization of tumors to bone and PTHrP increases bone turnover. Bone turnover results in the release of growth factors such as TGFβ and minerals such as calcium, both of which impact tumor cell growth and contribute to continued PTHrP production. PTHrP also has anabolic properties and could be in part responsible for osteoblastic type reactions in prostate cancer. Finally, emerging roles of PTH and PTHrP in the support of hematopoietic stem cell development in the bone marrow microenvironment suggest that an interaction between hematopoietic cells and tumor cells warrants further investigation.


Parathyroid hormone related protein PTHrP Skeletal metastasis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, School of DentistryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, Medical SchoolUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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