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Cancer Biol Ther. 2008 Feb;7(2):245-51. Epub 2007 Nov 14.

The growth inhibitory effect of mesenchymal stem cells on tumor cells in vitro and in vivo.

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Key Laboratory of Transplant Engineering and Immunology, Ministry of Health, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, P.R. China.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) play an important role in the development and growth of tumor cells. The purpose of this study is to confirm the effect of MSCs on tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo and to elucidate the mechanism. MSCs were isolated from mouse bone marrow and cocultured with murine hepatoma H22, lymphoma (YAC-1 and EL-4) and rat insulinoma INS-1 cell lines. The growth inhibitory effect of MSCs on tumor cells was tested through MTT and 3H-TdR incorporation assay. The apoptosis induction effect of MSCs on tumor cells was assessed with flow cytometry (FCM) and RT-PCR assay. MSCs were inoculated into BALB/c mice alone or coinoculated with ascitogenous hepatoma cells intraperitonealy, respectively. The tumor growth inhibition of MSCs was investigaed through the incidence and volume of ascites formation, and the immunosuppression effect was studied with splenocyte response to ConA stimulation test and T cell subsets analysis (FCM). The results showed that MSCs exhibited a number-dependent growth inhibitory effect on murine tumor cell lines in vitro and inhibited the growth of ascitogenous hepatoma cells in vivo without host immunosuppression. MSCs could upregulate tumor cells mRNA expression of cell cycle negative regulator p21 and apoptosis associated protease caspase 3. The findings of this experimental study demonstrated that MSCs had potential inhibitory effects on tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo without host immunosuppression, by inducing apoptotic cell death and G(0)/G(1) phase arrest of cancer cells.

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