Cancer cell lines release glutamate into the extracellular environment
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Bone is one of the most frequent sites for metastasis of breast and prostate cancers. Bone metastases are associated with pathologic changes in bone turnover and severe pain. The mechanisms that trigger these effects are not well understood, but it is postulated that tumour cells release factors which interfere with signalling processes critical to bone homeostasis. We have identified that several cancer cell lines known to cause bone disruption in animal models of bone metastasis appear to secrete glutamate into their extracellular environment in vitro. Although these cells also express specific glutamate receptors, the implications of this potentially disruptive chemical signal are discussed in relation to normal glutamate-dependent communication processes in bone and a possible mechanistic connection is made between tumour cell glutamate release and the development of pathological changes in bone turnover.
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