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Scand J Clin Lab Invest Suppl. 2014;244:54-8; discussion 57-8. doi: 10.3109/00365513.2014.936682.

The role of adipose-derived stem cells in endometrial cancer proliferation.

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  • 1Magee-Women's Research Institute, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.



Obesity has been identified as a key risk factor for the development of endometrial cancer (EC), the most common gynecologic malignancy in the US. We hypothesized that adipose tissue from EC patients secretes higher levels of cancer-promoting factors than healthy adipose tissue and promotes tumor cell growth.


In this study, we generated conditioned media from adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs), an important regenerative cell population within adipose tissue. ASCs were isolated from adipose tissue from two EC patients undergoing hysterectomies and four cancer free control patients undergoing elective abdominoplasties. Ishikawa cells were then cultured for 48 hours in ASC-conditioned media (ASC-CM). Study outcomes included cancer cell proliferation rates and angiogenic factor secretion from cancer cells.


Our results indicate that ASC-conditioned media significantly increased Ishikawa cell proliferation rate when compared to control Ishikawa culture conditions (p = 0.002). Though not significant, Ishikawa proliferation with conditioned media from EC ASCs was higher than proliferation in conditioned media from control ASCs. Additionally, we found that Ishikawa cells secreted almost 10 % more vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) when cultured in EC ASC-CM as compared to Ishikawa cells cultured in healthy (cancer free control) ASC-CM. These results indicate that ASC paracrine factors may positively increase cancer cell growth rate and potentially enhance tumor angiogenesis.


Our findings support the hypothesis that adipose tissue is an important source of secreted factors, which increase the rate of EC cell growth. This study provided preliminary evidence that ASCs may be an important parameter to evaluate in relation to EC development.


Adipose-derived stem cells; endometrial cancer; inflammation; prevention

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