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Cancer Res. 2009 Feb 15;69(4):1255-8. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-3562. Epub 2009 Feb 10.

Mesenchymal stem cells: flip side of the coin.

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Department of Medicine, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey 8903, USA.

Erratum in

  • Cancer Res. 2009 Apr 1;69(7):3240.


Tumor-associated fibroblasts or carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAF) play an important role in the growth of epithelial solid tumors. Although the cell type of origin of CAFs has not been conclusively established, it has been shown that they may be bone marrow derived. One side of the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) coin is the well-accepted therapeutic potential of these cells for regenerative and immunomodulatory purposes. The ominous dark side is revealed by the recent work demonstrating that hMSCs may be a source of CAFs. In this review, we discuss the role of stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment and suggest that by exploring the in vitro/in vivo interplay between different cell types within the tumor milieu, strategies for improved tumor therapy can be developed.

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