Background: Co-culture of cancer cells with alveolar bone cells could modulate bone invasion
and destructions. However, the mechanisms of interaction between oral squamous cell carcinoma
(OSCC) and bone cells remain unclear.
Objective: The aim of this study is to analyse the direct and indirect effects of OSCC cells in the
stimulation of osteolytic activity and bone invasion.
Method: Direct co-culture was achieved by culturing OSCC (TCA8113) with a primary alveolar
bone cell line. In the indirect co-culture, the supernatant of TCA8113 cells was collected to culture
the alveolar bone cells. To assess the bone invasion properties, in vitro assays were performed.
Results: The proliferation of co-cultured cancer cells was significantly (p<0.05) higher in comparison
to the monolayer control cells. However, the proliferation rates were not significantly different
between direct and indirect co-cultured cells with indirect co-cultured cells proliferated slightly more
than the direct co-cultured cells. Invasion and migration capacities of co-cultured OSCC and alveolar
bone cells enhanced significantly (p<0.05) when compared to that of control monolayer counterparts.
Most importantly, we noted that OSCC cells directly co-cultured with alveolar bone cells
stimulated pronounced bone collagen destruction. In addition, stem cells and epithelialmesenchymal
transition markers have shown significant changes in their expression in co-cultured
Conclusion: In conclusion, the findings of this study highlight the importance of the interaction of
alveolar bone cells and OSCC cells in co-culture setting in the pathogenesis of bone invasion. This
may help in the development of potential future biotherapies for bone invasion in OSCC.