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Re: Bone Cancer

Pieter.Depuydt@rug.ac.be wrote
>In David Norman's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs there is 
>mention of a Chasmosaurus skull with small, rounded 'holes ' in it; 
>the appearance of these small bone defects is very similar to those 
>seen in the disease 'multiple myeloma' in humans (so called 
>'punched-out lesions': small, rounded, clearly circumscribed holes, 
>looking as perforations and located on flat bones (skull, sternum, 
>ribs, ilia) which still contain red marrow in adults). Multiple 
>myeloma is no 'bone cancer' strictly spoken, it is a neoplastic 
>disease, in which a clone of plasmocytes (a certain type of white 
>blood cell that secretes antibodies or immunoglobulins) proliferates; 
>this causes bone destruction (with the aid of osteoclasts) and  abnormal 
>secretion of an immunoglobulin (so called 'monoclonal peak') leading 
>to renal insufficiency and impaired immunity.
>(However I don't know if this claim is confirmed by others.)

Exactly same lesions can develop if a cancer spreads to the bones. It will be
virtually impossible to tell from the fossil bone itself which disease (if it 
was a
disease) was the cause. Myeloma is a rare disease, metastatic carcinoma
(spreading cancer) is much more common.

Gautam Majumdar                 gautam@majumdar.demon.co.uk