OPEN Research Support

Associate professor
Thomas Levin Andersen
Department of Pathology, Odense University Hospital

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Sampling ongoing
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.02.2019  
Slut 01.01.2029  

Bone metastases' interaction with the bone marrow environment

Short summary

The primary purpose is to investigate the interaction between the bone metastases and the surrounding environment in the bone marrow of cancer patients, and whether this interaction is different between the cancer types.

Further, to investigate whether the cancer cells and their characteristics are different between the bone metastasis, metastases in other organs and the primary cancerous tumor in the same patient.


Cancer often spreads to the bones and forms bone metastases. Cancer types originating from the prostate, breast, lungs, colon, ventricle, urinary bladder, uterus, rectum, thyroid and kidneys most often form bone metastases. The formation of bone metastases is a serious progression of the cancer disease, as these bone metastases often are considered an active promotor of spreading the cancer cells to other vital organs. Cancer patients, whom have been diagnosed with bone metastases are today largely incurable and have a relatively short life expectancy.

Most bone metastases are found in bones with red bone marrow such as the spine, pelvis, ribs as well as the parts of the upper part of humerus and femur. In bones, bone metastases interact with the bone marrow environment, which promotes vigorous degradation of the bones (osteolysis) and/or bone formation (osteosclerosis) conversely favoring optimized growth and survival of the cancer cells. This causes the bone near the metastasis to become fragile and symptoms such as pain, swelling and bone fracture may occur.

The bone metastases' interaction with the bone marrow environment is primarily described in animal models and in cell experiments, where the cancer cells are cultivated together with the cells present in the bone marrow. In humans, there exists only limited knowledge about the interaction of bone metastases with the bone marrow environment.

Description of the cohort

The project aims to recruit 300 cancer patients from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at OUH and Kolding Hospital. 

Additionally, from the clinical pathological biobanks, biopsies from another 200 breast- and prostate cancer patients will be included. All material for this particular project is harvested from adolescent men and woman.

Data and biological material

Bone biopsies and data from patient records.

Collaborating researchers and departments

Clinical Cell Biology, Department of Pathology, Odense University Hospital

  • Postdoc Christina Møller Andreasen, PhD
  • Professor Jean-Marie Delaisse, PhD

Department of Pathology, Odense University Hospital

  • Professor Henrik Daa Schrøder, PhD

Department of Pathology, Vejle Hospital

  • Henrik Hager

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Odense University Hospital

  • Professor Hagen Schmal, PhD
  • MD Ole Skov, PhD

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Kolding Hospital

  • Associated professor Bjarke Viberg, PhD