Roles of bone morphogenetic protein signaling in osteosarcoma

Alan Nguyen, Michelle A. Scott, Sarah M. Dry, Aaron W. James

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: Since the original extraction of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) from bovine bone, research interest and clinical use has increased exponentially. With this, a concomitant analysis of BMP expression in bone tumours has been performed. BMP ligands, receptors, and signaling activity have been observed in diverse benign and malignant bone tumours. However, the reported expression, function, and importance of BMPs in bone tumours, and specifically osteosarcomas, have been far from uniform. This review highlights recent advances in understanding the role of BMP signaling in osteosarcoma biology, focusing on the sometimes divergent findings by various researchers and the challenges inherent in the study of osteosarcoma.

Methods: We performed a literature review of all studies examining BMP signaling in osteosarcoma.

Results: Overall, multiple BMP ligands and receptors are expressed in most osteosarcoma cell lines and subtypes, although BMP signaling may be reduced in comparison with benign bone-forming tumours. Studies suggest that osteosarcomas with different lineages of differentiation may have differential expression of BMP ligands. Although significant disagreement in the literature exists, the presence of BMP signaling in osteosarcoma may impart a worse prognosis. On the cellular level, BMP signaling appears to mediate promigratory effects in osteosarcoma and chondrosarcoma cell types, possibly via interaction and activation of Integrin β1.

Conclusions: BMP signaling has clear biologic importance in osteosarcoma, although it is not yet fully understood. Future questions for study include assessing the utility of BMP signaling in prognostication of osteosarcoma and the potential modulation of BMP signaling for inhibition of osteosarcomagenesis, growth and invasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2313-2322
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Orthopaedics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • BMP2
  • BMP4
  • Bone tumours
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Sarcomagenesis
  • Skeletal tumours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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