Radiation-induced bone loss
Patients undergoing radiation therapy for cancer are at increased risk of musculoskeletal complications including bone loss and fracture. The overarching goal this project is to evaluate the cellular mechanism(s) of radiation-induced bone loss and to determine the effects of radiation exposure on the development and progression of prostate cancer bone metastases. Our findings indicate radiation exposure can have direct effects on multiple bone cells (osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocytes) and that radiation-induced bone loss may be partially driven by systemic factors, including osteoclastogenic cytokines. Further studies will determine the relative contribution of inflammatory cytokines on short- and long-term radiation-induced bone loss as well as the role radiation-induced bone loss may play in the progression of prostate cancer bone metastases. These studies emphasize the sensitivity of the musculoskeletal system to radiation, and may be useful in developing therapeutics that can prevent musculoskeletal weakness following radiation exposure.