Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Stem Cell Res. 2011 Sep;7(2):163-71. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2011.05.002. Epub 2011 May 10.

Both human and mouse mesenchymal stem cells promote breast cancer metastasis.

Author information

  • 1National University of Ireland, Galway, National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, Molecular Therapeutics Group, Galway, Ireland.


Cell therapy has the potential to offer novel treatment modalities for a number of diseases including cancer, and stem cells and in particular mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been experimentally used to deliver therapeutic transgenes. However, conflicting reports have on the one side found that human MSCs can promote metastasis, while on the other hand other studies have shown that MSCs can stall the growth of metastatic lesions. In order to clarify the role of MSCs in metastasis development, we tested whether murine MSCs would behave similarly to human cells in mice. We found that the tissue distribution of human and mouse MSCs was nearly identical after intravenous injection. In mice with MDA-MB-231 mammary carcinoma xenografts we found that a fraction of MSCs infiltrated the primary tumor mass, but that the general tissue distribution of MSCs was unaffected by the tumor-burden. About half of the tumor-burdened animals that were treated with murine and human MSCs, respectively, harbored metastatic lesions with only 17% of controls showing metastatic nodules. Hence, both human and mouse MSCs possess metastasis-promoting activity raising concerns about the safe use of MSCs, but at the same time making the use of murine transgenic model systems feasible to study the role of MSCs in metastasis development and possibly finding ways of using them safely as cell therapeutic vehicles.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk