Current theory on the influence of breast cancer on bone describes metastasis of tumor cells to bone tissue, followed by induction of osteoclasts and bone degradation. Tumor influences on bone health in pre- or nonmetastatic models are unknown. Female rats (n=48, 52 days old) were injected with N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) to induce breast cancer. Animals were euthanized 10 weeks later, and tumors were weighed and classified histologically. Right femurs were extracted for testing of bone mineral density (BMD) by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), bone mechanical strength by three-point bending and femoral neck bending tests, and structure by micro-computed tomography (μCT). Of 48 rats, 22 developed one or more tumors in response to MNU injection by 10 weeks. Presence of any tumor predicted significantly poorer bone health in 17 of 28 measures. In tumored versus nontumored animals, BMD was adversely affected by 3%, force at failure of the femoral midshaft by 4%, force at failure of the femoral neck by 12%, and various trabecular structural parameters by 6% to 27% (all p<.05). Similarly, greater tumor burden, represented by total tumor weight, adversely correlated with bone outcomes: r=-0.51 for BMD, -0.42 and -0.35 for femur midshaft force and work at failure, and between 0.36 and 0.59 (absolute values) for trabecular architecture (all p<.05). Presence of MNU-induced tumors and total tumor burden showed a negative association with bone health of the femur in rats in the absence of metastasis. Further study is required to elucidate mechanisms for this association.
- animal models
- breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism