A humanised tissue-engineered bone model allows species-specific breast cancer-related bone metastasis in vivo.
J Tissue Eng Regen Med
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Bone metastases frequently occur in the advanced stages of breast cancer. At this stage, the disease is deemed incurable. To date, the mechanisms of breast cancer-related metastasis to bone are poorly understood. This may be attributed to the lack of appropriate animal models to investigate the complex cancer cell-bone interactions. In this study, two established tissue-engineered bone constructs (TEBCs) were applied to a breast cancer-related metastasis model. A cylindrical medical-grade polycaprolactone-tricalcium phosphate scaffold produced by fused deposition modelling (scaffold 1) was compared with a tubular calcium phosphate-coated polycaprolactone scaffold fabricated by solution electrospinning (scaffold 2) for their potential to generate ectopic humanised bone in NOD/SCID mice. While the scaffold 1 was found not suitable to generate a sufficient amount of ectopic bone tissue due to poor ectopic integration, the scaffold 2 showed excellent integration into the host tissue, which did lead to bone formation. To mimic breast cancer cell colonisation to the bone, MDA-MB-231, SUM1315 and MDA-MB-231BO breast cancer cells were cultured in polyethylene glycol-based hydrogels and implanted adjacent to the TEBCs. Histological analysis indicated that the breast cancer cells induced an osteoclastic reaction in the TEBCs, demonstrating analogies to breast cancer-related bone metastasis seen in patients.